Kenya pulls out of maritime border case with Somalia

Kenya is now expected to file a notice of non-participation in the maritime border case with Somalia.

This is after the country pulled out of the case which is scheduled to be heard in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) today. The legal team representing Kenya is expected to explain the grounds upon which the country cannot participate in the hearings.

Kenya is accusing the ICJ of bias in the case, which concerns a 62,000 sq miles triangle in the Indian Ocean. The area is thought to be rich in oil and gas, raising a dispute between Kenya and Somalia.

Somalia says the maritime frontier should follow on in the same direction as the land border, while Kenya argues that it has always been taken in a horizontal line from the point where the two countries meet at the coast.

Citing a letter sent to the ICJ, the UN’s main body, Kenya said that it would inform the court of not participating in the hearing. Kenya’s Attorney General, Kihara Kariuki listedn the reasons that led to the decision.

In the letter, he said, “Firstly, the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic hampered Kenya’s ability to adequately prepare for the hearing.”

He also criticized the fact that some of the hearings are virtual saying that this limits their ability to defend themselves. He said, “Kenya humbly requests the Court to allow its (representative) to address the Court orally for 30 minutes before the start of the hearings.”

In December 2021, Somalia had announced breaking its diplomatic relations with Kenya. Later on, Kenya in February recalled its ambassador to Mogadishu. It accused Somalia of auctioning off oil and gas fields in the disputed area. Somalia denied the accusations.

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