Kenya faults ICJ process on Somalia maritime border dispute


Kenya and Somalia have been embroiled in a maritime boundary case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenya on Friday raised a pre-verdict storm against the International Court of Justice verdict due on Tuesday, saying the judges’ decision will be a product of a “flawed” process.

Nairobi announced it had withdrawn the compulsory Court's jurisdiction, a principle in international law that means that each State that has granted the Court this type of acceptance has the right to sue other States and that it has agreed to appear before the Court if sued.

Kenya said it advised the court on this withdrawal on September 24. However, this decision will not affect the judgment of the court, technically, as rules or reservations don’t apply to already ongoing cases.

The move was announced in Nairobi by Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau as the ICJ prepares to announce the verdict of a maritime boundary case filed by Somalia.

Mogadishu had demanded a review of the maritime boundary in what could alter the ocean territory for both countries should the ICJ rule in favour of Somalia.

“The delivery of the Judgment will be the culmination of a flawed judicial process that Kenya has had reservations with, and withdrawn from, on account not just of its obvious and inherent bias but also of its unsuitability to resolve the dispute at hand,” PS Kamau said, suggesting the suit was seen from the outset as a threat to Kenya’s territorial integrity.

“For these reasons, and in addition to withdrawing its participation from the current case, Kenya, on the 24th September 2021, also joined many other members of the United Nations in withdrawing its recognition of the Court’s compulsory jurisdiction. As a sovereign nation, Kenya shall no longer be subjected to an international court or tribunal without its express consent.”

The Court of 13 judges, including a Somali, and presided over by American Joan Donoghue, will make its final verdict on Tuesday and is expected to issue instructions on what the two countries must do. Judgments by ICJ are usually binding between states and there is no option for appeal.