Published On: Sat, Sep 17th, 2016

Kenya, Somalia maritime dispute hearing kicks off Monday at ICJ

The Attorney General Prof Githu Muigai on Saturday led the Kenyan delegation to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague to present Kenya’s submissions to the Court on the Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean in the Somalia verses Kenya Case.

The case arises from a claim by Somalia filed before the ICJ on August 28, 2014, requesting the Court to determine on the basis of international law the boundary dividing all the maritime area between Kenya and Somalia in the Indian Ocean, including the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles.

Further, Somalia has requested the Court to determine the precise geographical co-ordinates of the boundary in the Indian Ocean.

Kenya on the other hand contends that it has exercised uncontested jurisdiction over the disputed maritime areas since it first proclaimed its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in 1979.

Further, Kenya considers that the maritime boundary should follow the ‘parallel of latitude’, which has been used as the boundary between itself and Somalia since at least 1924.

“The Republic of Kenya has further contested the jurisdiction of the ICJ to hear the matter, and to the admissibility of the suit by Somalia. In the Memorandum of Understanding between Kenya and Somalia concluded in Nairobi on April 7th, 2009, the two parties agreed to delimit the maritime boundary by negotiation, and not by recourse to the Court,” read a statement from the office of the Attorney General on Saturday.

Kenya contends that the Court’s jurisdiction specifically excludes disputes where, as is the case here, the parties have agreed to another method of settlement. The preliminary objection forms the core of the oral proceedings to be held between Monday 19th and Friday 23rd September 2016.

Paul Reichler of Foley Hoag LLP, New York and Professor Allain Pellet, a French international lawyer are the Leading Counsel representing the Federal Republic of Somalia.

On the other hand, Prof PayamAkhavan (American), Professor Vaughan Lowe (British), Prof Alan Boyle (British), Prof Mathias Forteau (French), Karim Khan (British) and Amy Sanders (British) are representing the Republic of Kenya.

“Kenya remains committed to friendly neighbourly relations and the establishment of peace and security in Somalia, and to the delimitation of the maritime boundary at the appropriate time in accordance with the agreed procedure,” the statement read

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