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IBRU: Centre for Borders Research

Boundary news

Boundary news Headlines

Kenya objects to Somalia’s boundary dispute case at the International Court of Justice

(8 October 2015)

Kenya’s Attorney-General Githu Muigai issued preliminary objections to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) case brought by Somalia regarding the coastal boundary dispute between the two countries, stating that the case is “invalid.” According to Muigai, the previous agreement between the two countries promising to negotiate the dispute supersedes the Somali case to the ICJ. The Kenyan response stated that, “The two governments must find a solution through amicable agreement, under international law. It is their obligation to do so.”

Somalia brought the case to the ICJ in July 2015, arguing that 100,000 square kilometres of coastal Kenya containing significant oil deposits rightly belonged to Kenya. The boundary was a product of an MoU between the two countries signed in 2009 and referred to the UN in 2011. This agreement stated that the maritime boundary dispute would be negotiated outside of court as much as possible, but Somalia claims that its cabinet rejected the agreement and so the conditions no longer apply.

If the Kenyan objections persuade the court, then the case will have to return to negotiations. If it fails and the case proceeds, the judges at the ICJ will issue a verdict. The verdict of the ICJ typically is binding without possibility of appeal.


Kenya Objects to Coastal Boundary Case Filed By Somalia At the ICJ, 7 October 2015, by Aggrey Mutambo for All Africa,