By Joab Apollo
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Tuesday 12th October, 2021, unanimously ruled that Somalia must own what used to be part of Kenya’s territory in the Indian Ocean, sounding a blow to Nairobi that has always accused Somalia of an all-out aggression.
The 15 Judge bench argued that there was no distinct Maritime boundary between the feuding countries, hence no country had the monopoly over the disputed 62, 000sq miles area, believed to be a haven of oil and gas.
“There’s no agreed maritime boundary between the Federal Republic of Somalia and the Republic of Kenya that follows the parallel latitude.” Stated the judgment.
Last week, Kenya through its Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Ambassador Macharia Kamau, who was accompanied by senior military officials, withdrew from the case, describing it as a “flawed judicial process.” It cited biasness and concluded that it would not recognize the ruling, setting the stage for a convoluted diplomatic row.
The case was instituted in 2014 by the Somalia government. And in 2015, Kenya responded to the court proceedings by objecting to Somalia’s points of arguments.
The diplomatic spat could have far-reaching social, political and economic consequences in the region, given that hundreds of ethnic Somalis, both businessmen and refugees, live in Kenya.