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Wednesday, October 13, 2021 – The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled in favor of Somalia in the disputed area within the Indian Ocean which is rich in oil and gases.

The Hague-based court ordered Kenya to give up part of the disputed maritime territory to Somalia.

In the ruling that has upset Kenya, the judges found that there was no evidence Somalia submitted to Kenya’s use of latitude and longitude to determine maritime borders. 

Further, the ICJ partially agreed that Somalia had a right to the oil-rich region of the disputed area of the Indian Ocean – but sought to strike a balance by allowing them only an extra 200 nautical miles (about 370 kilometers) of the area currently controlled by Kenya. 

The court, in its verdict, adjudged and declared that Kenya, by its conduct in the disputed area, did not violate its international obligations and therefore not responsible under international law to make full reparation to Somalia.

While issuing the ruling, Judge Joan E. Donoghue, noted that the court regretted Kenya’s decision not to proceed in the case.

In the ruling, the judges ruled that there is no agreed maritime boundary agreement between Kenya and Somalia. 

The court was thus tasked with identifying the maritime boundary. 

Kenya withdrew from the ICJ case in March 2021, arguing that the court was biased.

It wanted a Somali judge attached to the case to recuse himself and also cited delays in briefing a new legal team and the interference of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Amb. Macharia Kamau vowed that Kenya will not honour the court’s ruling as the country withdrew from the case which was reportedly skewed in favour of Somalia.


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