Kenya Rejects Jurisdiction Of United Nations ICJ On Somalia Border Ruling

Kenya said that it rejected United Nations International Court Of Justice on it’s jurisdiction over Somalia’s border ruling. Kenya and Somalia have long-running maritime border disputes. 

The countries are ruling over a stretch of Indian Ocean. The dispute is growing over the hold on oil and gas deposits within the Ocean. Thus, it is claimed by both nations to hold that territory.

Kenya’s Foreign Ministry Reports:

According to the statement from the foreign ministry of Kenya, ICJ held a flawed judicial process over the possession of the region. They accused the court of its inherent and obvious bias in resolving the issue. 

However, according to ICJ, Kenya had reservations with and withdrew from neighbouring countries. 

On the other hand, Foreign Ministry said on Friday that the country is withdrawing its participation with the UN over the current case. Meanwhile it is going to join with other members of the United Nations in withdrawing its acceptance of the court’s jurisdiction. 

Also read: Attacks on UN peacekeepers in Mali: UN Chief Reports

Kenya’s Concern On Maritime Territory

Both the Republic of Kenya and Federal Republic of Somalia are claimants over the maritime territory, which is presumed to have large amounts of oil and gas reserves. According to the Kenyan news channel K24TV, if Kenya loses the disputed territory, they stand to lose three potential oil blocks set to be a high source of gas and oil.

Kenya has already issued prospective licences to three foreign companies for use of these resources.

However, Somalia, which is in the northeast of Kenya, wanted to extend its maritime frontier. That is along the border of Kenya to the south-easterly direction. 

On the other side, Kenya claimed that it has had sovereignty over the region since 1979. Accordingly, Kenya wants the border to head out to sea in a straight line east. As a result, it would give it a bigger share of the ocean. 

According to which, the disputed region of water stretches over an area of more than 100,000 square km (40,000 square miles).

Kenya And Somalia Border Agreement!

Kenya and Somalia held an agreement by international law in April 2009. Both the nations signed on Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). 

According to the agreement, both the countries will make submissions to CLCS. This is a UN agency, Commission on the limits of the Continental Shelf. CLCS has the authority to make recommendations without prejudice. 

In 2014 Somalia took the step against Kenya in a maritime dispute. For this, it initiated the proceedings to the International court of Justice. As a result, Kenya raised certain objections over the issue. 

However Kenya raised certain objections to this. One is for the jurisdiction of ICJ and other is its admissibility on the application. Thus according to Kenya, ICJ lacks jurisdiction to entertain the dispute. 

Moreover, Kenya announced in March that it would totally boycott the ICJ. It will take no response to the ICJ hearings in the case. It further said that the sovereign country shall no longer be subjected to the ICJ without its express consent. 

Kenya And Somalia Border Disputes 

Somalia first initiated the case of dispute saying that Kenya’s meddling in territory over its border. Kenya then rejected all the accusations from Somalia. Furthermore in 2019 Kenya sent its ambassador to Mogadishu accusing Somalia of selling off oil and gas blocks in the region. 

Kenya said it was an illegal grab of resources. It reminded Somalia of Kenya’s aid in the battle against al-shabab fighters in Somalia. While Somalia on the other hand  banned the import of khat, a stimulant plant from Kenya. 

Furthermore, Somalia also severed the ties in December 2020 with Kenya. The step further deteriorated the dispute and worsened the situation. 

Finally both the countries agreed to reset their relations. In August 2021 the Somali Prime Minister Muhammad Hussein Roble held talks with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. 

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