ICJ pushes hearing of Kenya-Somalia maritime border dispute to November
By Eric Wainaina
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has sided with Kenya in her application to have the hearing of the marine time dispute between her and Somalia delayed to allow the country to recruit a new defence team.
Though Kenya had requested to have the hearing, which was scheduled for between September 9 and 13, deferred for one year, The Hague-based court in a statement Friday said it had pushed the case to November 4.
“The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, has decided to postpone to the week beginning November 4 the oral proceedings in the case concerning Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia vs Kenya), which had been due to take place between Monday September 9 and 13, 2019,” read the statement published in the court’s website.
The court, in the statement, said it had adopted the decision following a request by Kenya on September 3, and also after taking into account the views expressed by the Federal Republic of Somalia on the request.
Somalia had protested Kenya’s application, which its representative at the European Union Ali Said Faqi described as “deeply troubling, unjustified and harmful for the judicial processes”, as one which is going to be detrimental to their case.
The two nations claim control of a 100,000-square-kilometre area in the Indian Ocean that is endowed with gas, oil and other natural resources.
Nairobi, which maintains that the disputed area belongs to her, is reported to prefer an out-of-court settlement, a position which Somalia has objected, insisting it must be heard by the court.
Somalia filed the boundary delimitation dispute on August 28, 2014, staking claim on an estimated 62,000 square miles oil-rich triangle in the Indian Ocean and has been seeking to have the sea border extended along the land border.
Even as the parties prepared to face each other in November, the court's President Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf is grappling with allegations that he might side with the Somalia, which according to a petition filed in the court, is his motherland.