Kenya and Somalia in dispute: court ruled on border

Kenya and Somalia have been fighting over the course of the joint maritime border for years. It is about a possibly oil and gas-rich sea area off the East African coast. The International Court of Justice gives Mogadishu justice. Kenya, on the other hand, insists on its state sovereignty.

In the long-standing border conflict between Somalia and Kenya, the International Court of Justice redefined the sea border between the two African states and thus awarded Somalia a controversial, potentially resource-rich area. The highest court of the United Nations on Tuesday in The Hague largely upheld a lawsuit from Somalia. The judgment is binding, an appeal is not possible.

Kenya immediately rejected the judgment and accused the court of exceeding its powers. President Uhuru Kenyatta said during a visit to New York that the ruling raised the question of the sovereignty of states. International tribunals can only rule with the consent of the states. Kenya therefore called on the international community to create an environment for a negotiated solution.

Kenya warns of destabilization

Kenya had previously announced that it would not recognize the judgment. In March, the East African country boycotted the hearings in The Hague. Kenya had also warned of the security implications in the region. Since the International Court of Justice has no way of enforcing the judgment, Somalia would still have to appeal to the UN Security Council.

Somalia brought the case to court in 2014 and demanded a supreme court decision on the sea border. It was mainly about an area of ‚Äč‚Äčabout 100,000 square kilometers in the Indian Ocean with possibly large oil and gas deposits. There are also rich fish stocks. Kenya had vehemently contradicted the neighboring country’s claims for a border correction. Nairobi stated that the sea border runs parallel to the latitude. Both countries have agreed on this. But Somalia denied this and wanted the border to be drawn southeast in an extended line to the national border. The judges complied with this.

Somalia had also demanded compensation as Kenya had already granted production licenses to foreign companies. But the UN court rejected these demands.

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