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Kenya challenges Somalia’s case on Indian Ocean boundary


Thursday October 8, 2015

By Koome Kimonye 


Kenya has objected the validity of a case filed by Somalia at the International Court of Justice concerning maritime delimitation.

Kenya submitted its Preliminary Objections against the case on August 28th, 2014 in which Somalia is claiming a section of Indian Ocean along the Kenyan coast.

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In the submission, Kenya argues that the case falls outside the jurisdiction of the Court and is inadmissible since it is “contrary to Somalia’s international obligations under the Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) signed on 7 April 2009, under the good offices of the Norwegian Government.”

In a statement, Kenya argues: “The Governments of Kenya and Somalia had agreed, first, to consent to consideration of their respective submissions by the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (“CLCS”); second, to delimit their maritime boundary only after the Commission established the outer limits of their continental shelf; and third, to delimit their maritime boundary through negotiating an amicable agreement rather than litigation before the Court.”

It further argues that Somalia’s aggressive conduct has violated all three of these conditions, in direct disregard of its fundamental obligation to perform international agreements in good faith.

Attorney General Prof. Githu Muigai, Kenya’s agent before the court, remarked that “Kenya has made exceptional sacrifices for Somalia.”

“Its soldiers have fought Al Shabaab. Kenyan citizens have been victims of terrorist attacks. Kenya has also been hosting over half a million Somali refugees for almost 25 years. The least Kenya can expect from Somalia is that it will honor its bilateral agreements,” argued the AG.

“Litigating this complex issue before the Court is clearly contrary to the 2009 MOU. Somalia’s case is invalid, and Kenya is confident that the Court will agree with its submission. The two Governments must find a solution through an amicable agreement, under international law. It is their obligation to do so,” read the statement in part.

Somalia will have the right to respond to Kenya’s Preliminary Objections in the coming months, following which the Court will schedule an oral hearing, before rendering its judgment on Jurisdiction and Admissibility in 2016.

“If Kenya prevails in its submission, Somalia’s case will be discontinued,” added the statement.

 



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