Home » Failed Mission: Kenya Asks For Extension In Judgement On The Border Issue With Somalia

Failed Mission: Kenya Asks For Extension In Judgement On The Border Issue With Somalia

Failed Mission: Kenya Asks For Extension In Judgement On The Border Issue With Somalia
Monica Juma, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary

NAIROBI: Kenya has writen to International Court of Justice (ICJ) seeking postponement of maritime dispute case with Somalia, citing need to recruit new defence team.

The judgement was set for September 9-13.

The politics of the border issue has made Kenya and Somalia play games on each other in the recent weeks.

For example, Kenyan backed candidate, Ahmed Mohamed Islam aka Ahmed Madobe won the regional election for president in Jubbaland.

It is important to note that the area under dispute falls under the jurisdiction of the Jubbaland, there has been rumors that the regional state would like the same recognition as Somaliland which declared independence from Somalia and has been a thorn in the flesh of technocrats sitting in Mogadishu.

There’s also the issue of Kenya winning the vote to seat at the United Nations Security Council beating Somalia backed Djibouti.

It has been a high-stakes game. But what made Kenya beat a hasty retreat on the judgement? Stay with Kenyan Bulletin for more.


Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, presiding judge who Kenya want to recuse himself from the case

History of the border issue.

This is a brief history of the Kenya – Somalia Border dispute

Kenya and Somalia have had a dispute over a 100,000 square kilometres of sea area for a long time. The disputed area that lies in the Indian Ocean, is believed to contain large deposits of oil and gas.

In August 2014, Somalia filed a case against Kenya at International Court of Justice (ICJ). Somalia accused Kenya of infringing into its territory by awarding a couple of foreign firms to prospect for oil and gas in the disputed area. At ICJ, Kenya lost the bid to stop the case from going to full hearing, despite arguing that the two East African nations had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2009 that bound the them in an agreement to work with the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (UNCLCS), the UN agency charged with settling border disputes.

The Somalia parliament rejected that MOU and sought recourse at the ICJ.

Kenya, which was represented by former Attorney General Prof. Githu Muigai, had argued that it has stood with Somalia during its difficult time after the fall of government in 1991, by harbouring refugees and working for peace in Somalia.

Disputed border area

Kenya had also insisted that her boundary with Somalia is along a parallel of latitude, in its eastern border, as was decreed in the presidential proclamation of 1979. Somalia on the other hand, wants the court to demarcate the boundary to determine the exact geographical coordinates as an extension of its southeastern land borders.

Kenya efforts to stop the case from going to full hearing hit a dead end; Kenya was supposed to file a substantive response to the main case in December 2017. As of 2018, ICJ had authorized the submission of a reply by Somalia and a rejoinder of by Kenya and fixed the time limits for the filing of these written pleading to June 2018 and December 2018 respectively.

The case is still at the ICJ and the decision of the court will be final and will have to be accepted by the two counties.

However, a few months ago, Kenya accused Somalia of auctioning the oil blocks in the disputed border area. This action precipitated a diplomatic row where Kenya recalled her ambassador and expelled Somalia’s.