Kenya rejects ICJ ruling on its maritime border row with Somalia

By Samuel Ouma

President Uhuru Kenyatta has reacted to the ICJ’s judgment on the Kenya-Somalia border dispute terming the decision erroneous.

President Kenyatta said Kenya has rejected the ruling in totality and does not recognize its findings in a statement released on Tuesday.

“The decision embodies a perpetuation of the ICJ’s jurisdictional overreach and raises a fundamental question on the respect of the sovereignty and consent of States to international judicial processes.International tribunals have jurisdiction ONLY to the extent of CONSENT by a State,” said President Kenyatta.

Kenyatta criticized the court for imposing jurisdiction on a dispute it had neither jurisdiction nor competence.

He also slammed the Hague-based court for failing to permit the use, let alone the exhaustion, of regional dispute resolution mechanisms, despite the existence of a robust African Union legal framework on border issues and dispute settlement.

Kenya’s Head of State noted the decision will strain the relations between the two countries and reverse the social, political, and economic gains; and potentially aggravate the peace and security situation in the fragile Horn of Africa Region.

Kenya vowed to pursue the issue through African Union institutions such as the African Union Border Programme and its Peace and Security architecture and bilateral agreements.

In a ruling issued on Tuesday by a 15-judge bench led by Judge Joan E. Donoghue, the court decided Kenya will give up part of the disputed maritime territory to Somalia.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) largely agreed that Somalia had a right to the oil-rich section of the disputed Indian Ocean territory but sought to strike a balance by allowing them only an additional 200 nautical miles (approximately 370 kilometers) of the area controlled by Kenya.

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