Kenya to pull out of border row case with Somalia


Kenya to pull out of border row case with Somalia
Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and President Uhuru Kenyatta during a past function. PHOTO / COURTESY

Diplomacy tensions between Kenya and Somalia has heightened after Kenya withdrew from maritime border case before the International Court of Justice.

In withdrawing from the case which was to start on Monday, Kenya claimed the International Court of Justice disregarded her concerns, and proceeded to set the hearing dates.

The hearing at the International Court of Justice may just mark a turning point in the tense diplomatic relations between Kenya and her neighbor Somalia—the maritime border dispute in the oil rich Indian Ocean has Nairobi and Mogadishu at loggerheads.

Somalia claims Kenya has infringed on its borders in the Indian Ocean and wants the boundaries reviewed—a move that could rob off and disenfranchise Kenya a huge part of its oceanic territory.

The hearing kicks off on Monday with Somalia granted Monday and Tuesday to make its oral submission.

Kenya had been designated Thursday and Friday for its oral argument. On the 22nd of March Somalia is supposed to make its final submission with Kenya making its closing remarks on the 24th of March.

But government sources have confirmed Kenya has pulled out of the case over alleged unfair treatment by the Hague based ICJ court. The court is accused of disregarding an application by Kenya for an extension of the hearing.

Kenya says it had roped in a new team of lawyers into the case late 2019 but due to COVID-19 restrictions, the counsels mostly from the UK and America with one Kenyan have not been able to meet and crystallize Kenya’s response.

Kenya argues that it had also presented to the court what it describes as an incredible amount of new evidence, but this evidence has not been admitted essentially crippling the country’s defense.

Kenya has accused her neighbor of taking her to the ICJ court despite an existing memorandum of understanding between the two countries to have the matter resolved within the Africa union framework, Nairobi saying Mogadishu is hellbent on making political capital out of the case.

Article 54 of the ICJ on withdrawal indicates that whenever one of the parties does not appear before the court, or fails to defend its case, the other party may call upon the court to decide in favor of its claim.

Kenya and the horn of Africa nation have had tense diplomatic relations lately with Mogadishu claiming Kenya was involving herself in the country’s political affairs — this as Kenya’s defense forces are embedded in Somalia to ensure stability and peace in the war ravaged country.

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