ICJ to hear maritime dispute between Somalia and Kenya today

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The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague, Netherlands, is set to begin hearing a maritime dispute between Somalia and Kenya on Monday, according to a court ruling.

Kenya temporarily withdraws from maritime dispute with Somalia According to Kenya’s Daily Nation in the past few hours, the country’s attorney general has blamed COVID-19 for not attending the hearing due to the inability of their lawyers to attend the hearing. They also requested for more time to prepare.

Abdiwahab Sheikh Abdisamad, a Somali professor said the court had jurisdiction to rule on the case no matter the situation, citing a similar case between the Chinese and Philippine governments, which forced China to withdraw from the court records, but the ICJ heard the case and ruled in favor of the Philippines.

“Article 53 of the International Court of Justice rules that if one of the parties to the dispute does not appear in court, the other has the opportunity to say ‘rule for us’ but when you look at other provisions of the law court “You need complete and accurate evidence from the ruling party, which is sufficient for the court to decide in this case,”  Said Abdiwahab Sheikh

The Somali intellectual also said that Kenya still wants the case to be resolved in a spirit of neighborliness and brotherhood, in collaboration with the African Union.

“Kenya has always tried to negotiate in an African way, but if the Somali government agrees to that, then it’s a terrible doom for the horn of Africa nation,” Said Abdiwahab Sheikh.

The disputes between Kenya and Somalia is rooted in a disagreement over which direction the two countries’ border extends into the Indian Ocean.

Somalia argues that the maritime boundary should continue on in the same direction as the land border’s southeasterly path.

Kenya, meanwhile, insists that the border should take a roughly 45-degree turn at the shoreline and run in a latitudinal line, giving Nairobi access to a larger chunk of the sea.

In the recent past, Kenya and Somalia’s diplomatic relations have deteriorated, with Somali citing interference in its sovereign affairs by the Kenyan government.

BY OSMAN HUSSEIN ALI