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UN's top court sides with Somalia over Kenya in years-long maritime border dispute involving resource-rich area off African coast

Added 10-12-21 10:37:02pm EST - “The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled in Somalia's favor in a major territorial row over a tract of sea believed rich in oil and gas, after a years-long dispute with Kenya, which has refused to recognize the decision.” - Rt.com


Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Rt.com: “UN’s top court sides with Somalia over Kenya in years-long maritime border dispute involving resource-rich area off African coast”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

In a lengthy 79-page judgement, the UN’s top court ruled largely on the side of Mogadishu on Tuesday, backing most of its claim to a 100,000 square-kilometer (38,000 square-mile) area off the East African coast, which is thought to contain large petroleum reserves. The judges determined there was “no agreed maritime boundary” set in the area, and drew a border line mostly consistent with Somalia’s territorial claims.

Big News—The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has just ruled in favor of Somalia against Kenya over contested parts of the Indian Ocean believed to be rich in oil and gas. Somalia filed the case in 2014. pic.twitter.com/r47Rr6AOhw

While the ruling came as a blow to Nairobi, the ICJ did adjust the border line slightly north, partially fulfilling Kenya’s request, and unanimously rejected a claim by Somalia that Kenya had previously violated international law and the “sovereign rights and jurisdiction of Somalia.” Mogadishu had demanded damages over the spat, but was denied any compensation by the court.

Somalia brought the case to the ICJ in 2014 after failing to resolve the dispute through other mechanisms, but it has seen a long series of delays and postponements since. Kenya has strongly objected to Mogadishu’s claims all along, and effectively withdrew itself from the legal proceedings last March, claiming it was not given enough time to prepare its case and that the ICJ judgement would be biased given the presence of a Somali national, Abdulqawi Yusuf, on the legal panel overseeing the case.

Though the court said on Tuesday that it “regrets Kenya’s decision not to participate in the oral proceedings held in March 2021,” it noted that it nevertheless had “extensive information about Kenya’s views” and could therefore decide on the case. Summarizing the ruling, chief judge Joan Donoghue said the ICJ “is thus satisfied that the adjusted line… achieves an equitable solution” despite Nairobi’s objections. 


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