Kenya chickened out at the last minute from maritime dispute case with Somalia
Kenya has announced it will no longer participate in the international maritime boundary dispute case with Somalia, in protest at “perceived bias and unwillingness of the court to accommodate requests for the delaying the hearings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
As reported by The Sunday Nation, Kenya’s Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki communicated the decision to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), saying “Kenya wishes to inform the court, through the registrar, that it shall not be participating in the hearings in the case herein, should the same proceed from March 15 2021, as presently scheduled.”
The letter further states that the COVID-19 pandemic means that Kenya has not been able to prepare adequately as it struck “just around the time that Kenya had recruited a new legal team.”
“The consequence of this is that Kenya and its legal team were deprived of the opportunity of having necessary preparatory meetings and engagements,” the Attorney-General said.
The ICJ is from Monday, March 15th to Wednesday March 24th 2021 set to hold public hearings in the case concerning Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya) at the Peace Palace in the Hague, the seat of the Court.
Somalia’s envoy led by Federal Government of Somalia Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohammed Gulaid on Monday proceeded to The Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) to attend the public hearing of the Maritime dispute case.
The dispute between Kenya and Somalia is over which direction the two countries’ border extends into the Indian Ocean.
Somalia argues that the maritime boundary should continue on in the same direction as the land border’s southeasterly path. While Kenya insists that the border should take a roughly 45-degree turn at the shoreline and run in a latitudinal line.
(With input from the Sunday Nation)