Top UN tribunal to rule on bitter dispute between Kenya and Somalia
THE HAGUE – The highest UN court docket will rule on a bitter border dispute between Somalia and Kenya on Tuesday, delivering a verdict with probably important penalties for bilateral relations and vitality extraction within the area.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) should give its remaining phrase in a case filed by Mogadishu greater than seven years in the past.
A full bench of 15 judges led by US choose Joan Donoghue will ship the decision on the Peace Palace in The Hague at 13:00 GMT.
At stake are sovereignty, submarine wealth and the longer term of relations between two nations in some of the troubled areas of the world.
Kenya has beforehand accused the ICJ of bias and has introduced that it doesn’t acknowledge the court docket’s binding jurisdiction.
At the center of the dispute is the course the widespread maritime border ought to take from the purpose the place the land borders meet on the coast.
Somalia insists that the border ought to observe the orientation of its land border and thus run south-east.
But Kenya says its border is in a straight line east – a delineation that might give it a massive triangular slice of the ocean.
Nairobi claims to have exercised sovereignty over the area since 1979, when it proclaimed the bounds of its unique financial zone (EEZ) – a maritime territory extending as much as 200 nautical miles offshore the place a state has the correct to ‘exploit sources.
The disputed space of 100,000 sq. kilometers (38,000 sq. miles) is alleged to comprise wealthy deposits of gasoline and oil.
Nairobi has already granted exploration permits to Italian vitality big ENI, however Somalia is contesting the determination.
– Kenyan anger –
Created after World War II, the ICJ settles disputes between UN member states. Its selections are binding and with out enchantment.
Kenya has argued unsuccessfully that the tribunal lacks jurisdiction over the case and, in March, didn’t attend hearings, citing difficulties ensuing from the coronavirus pandemic.
Just over two weeks in the past, Nairobi notified the UN Secretary-General that it was withdrawing its 1965 declaration accepting obligatory ICJ jurisdiction.
“The delivery of the judgment will be the culmination of a flawed judicial process against which Kenya has expressed reservations and withdrew,” Kenya’s international ministry mentioned final week.
He accused the tribunal of “obvious and inherent bias” in resolving the dispute.
“As a sovereign nation, Kenya will no longer be subject to an international court or tribunal without its express consent.”
– Long standing battle –
Somalia and Kenya agreed in 2009 to settle the dispute by means of bilateral negotiations.
Two conferences have been held in 2014, however little progress was made. A 3rd spherical the identical yr failed when the Kenyan delegation didn’t present up with out informing their counterparts, later citing safety considerations.
Somalia then took the case to the ICJ in 2014, saying diplomatic makes an attempt to resolve the dispute had gone nowhere.
Monday’s verdict might additional deteriorate diplomatic relations between the 2 nations after Kenya recalled its ambassador to Mogadishu in 2019 after accusing Somalia of promoting blocks of oil and gasoline within the disputed space.
Nairobi known as the transfer an “unprecedented affront and illegal grab” of its sources.
It bitterly reminded Somalia of Kenya’s sacrifices within the battle in opposition to the jihadists of Al-Shabaab.
Kenya is a significant troop contributor to AMISOM, an African Union navy operation that combats al-Qaeda-linked fighters main a violent insurgency throughout Somalia.