Kenya Pulls Out Of Maritime Dispute Case With Somalia

Kenya government said on Tuesday that it had pulled out of the international maritime boundary dispute case with Somalia.

Details indicate that Kenya took this decision in protest at perceived bias and unwillingness of the court to accommodate requests to delay the hearings as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kenya objected to virtual proceedings and asked the International Court of Justice to allow Attorney General Kihara Kariuki a 30-minute address to express its displeasure with the court’s conduct before public hearings in the Indian Ocean boundary dispute between the neighbouring countries begin.

“Whether they refuse to admit the request or grant it, we have reached tipping point, a point of no return. If you like, the irreducible minimum is for us to be granted time to complete our preparations with our new (defence) team and to present our case in normal conditions of physical appearance where we can put across our case without hindrance. A token, cosmetic appearance won’t do for Kenya,” said a government official quoted by a local daily.

“Kenya regrets that it has been compelled to take this step- unprecedented in its history in relation to any international adjudication mechanism- because of the unwillingness of the court to afford it a fair opportunity to prepare for and to present its case,” the AG wrote in the letter addressed to the court’s registrar Philippe Gautier.

“Since the case herein is not urgent for any reason, Kenya least expected the court would make this into the first case to be heard on the merits via video link, despite one party’s sustained and well-grounded objections,” the letter adds.

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