Africa

Kenya rejects ICJ ruling over maritime dispute with Somalia

President Kenyatta vows to protect Kenyan territory by all means available

Andrew Wasike   | 13.10.2021
Kenya rejects ICJ ruling over maritime dispute with Somalia

NAIROBI, Kenya 

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta Wednesday rejected a ruling by the International Court of Justice that gave Somalia a large chunk of territory in a maritime border dispute.

Kenya said while it is not surprised at the decision, it is profoundly concerned by the impact of the decision and its implications for the Horn of Africa region, and international law generally.

“At the outset, Kenya wishes to indicate that it rejects in totality and does not recognize the findings in the decision,” Kenyatta said in a statement.

Kenyatta said Kenya, as an avid supporter of the rule of law, accepted the court’s jurisdiction through a declaration in 1965, with an objectively clear outline of certain excluded matters.

“At the time, Kenya never imagined that the ICJ would violate the declaration to the extent of imposing its mandate over expressly excluded matters,” Kenyatta said.

Kenya withdrew its participation in the public hearings on March 14 citing “substantive and persistent procedural unfairness from a biased bench, and the denial of the right to a fair hearing”.

On Sept. 24, Kenya withdrew its recognition of the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ and said it will only reconsider this withdrawal when pragmatic reforms are instituted in the administration of international justice.

Kenyatta vowed Kenya has an inherent right to protect, by all available means, its territory but noted that nonetheless, Kenya is committed to a diplomatic solution to the current impasse.

The UN court on Tuesday largely sided with Somalia in a sea border dispute with Kenya. Although Somalia did not get what it wanted, the court’s decision awarded it most of the disputed territory rich in oil and natural gas.


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