Somalia wants maritime case with Kenya to proceed without delay

Published: February 12, 2021

The Somali government said Thursday it wants its case with Kenya on the maritime delimitation within the Indian Ocean to proceed without further delay.

Osman Dubbe, the information minister said Mogadishu has petitioned the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to reject Kenya’s request for the postponement of the case for the fourth time. “We have rejected Kenya’s fourth request to the ICJ to postpone the two countries’ maritime case,” Dubbe told a news conference in Mogadishu.

“Justice delayed is justice denied. We should be set to head to the Hague court on the 15th of March come what may. Long live Somalia,” he added. Oral arguments for the case were set to take place from March 15 to 19 at the ICJ which is the principal judicial organ of the UN.

Kenya reportedly wrote to the ICJ on Jan. 28 seeking a further postponement of the case, arguing one of the keymaps with crucial information that was set to be presented as evidence in the case has inexplicably vanished.

Nairobi has also cited lack of substantive government in Mogadishu since the current terms of both Parliament and President Mohamed Farmajo have expired as well as the COVID-19 pandemic as the reasons it wants the case postponed.

However, Dubbe said any postponement of the case would be another setback for international justice. The dispute between the two neighboring countries is rooted in a disagreement over which direction the two countries’ border extends into the Indian Ocean.

Mogadishu argues that the maritime boundary should continue on in the same direction as the land border’s southeasterly path.

Nairobi, on its part, insists that the border should take a roughly 45-degree turn at the shoreline and run in a latitudinal line, giving Nairobi access to a larger chunk of the sea.

In August 2014, Somalia had approached the Court, requesting it to determine, on the basis of international law, the complete course of the single maritime boundary dividing all the maritime areas appertaining to Somalia and to Kenya in the Indian Ocean, including the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles.

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