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IBRU: Centre for Borders Research

Boundary news

Boundary news Headlines

Kenya-Somalia maritime boundary dispute will go to full trial at the ICJ

(3 February 2017)

The International Court of Justice has rejected Kenya’s preliminary objections that the ICJ lacks jurisdiction to intervene in its maritime boundary dispute with Somalia.

Kenya had filed two objections to ICJ jurisdiction over Somalia’s 2014 filing. Firstly, Kenya asserted that the case filed by Somalia should be dismissed based on grounds that the ICJ has no jurisdiction to hear the case whilst the two countries were still in negotiations and committed to resolving the dispute peacefully. Kenya’s second objection was that the existence of an MoU agreed by the two countries in 2009 and deposited at the United Nations in 2011 after the matter broke out should be used to determine how the matter proceeds.

Judge Ronny Abraham, the court's president, dismissed the two applications, setting the stage for the full hearing before the court that is likely to take many years before it is fully resolved.

Attorney General for Kenya Githu Muigai said that Kenya would "vigorously prosecute its case" in the upcoming hearings on the demarcation dispute. He went on to say, "Kenya maintains the view that litigation can resolve only one aspect of a wide range of complex issues the parties must agree upon."

The full Judgment can be seen at