Kenya Objects to Somalia’s Border Dispute Case


Kenya has rejected a maritime boundary case submitted to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) by Somalia, claiming it is invalid.

Kenya contests that Somalia’s case falls outside of the  ICJ’s jurisdiction and breaks the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) singed in April, 2009. The MoU obliges both countries to settle border disputes through negotiations, rather than the courts.


Somalia case ‘invalid’

Kenya Attorney General, Githu Muigai, filed preliminary objections to the ICJ, deeming Somalia’s case invalid.

“Litigating this complex issue before the court is clearly contrary to the 2009 MoU. Somalia’s case is invalid and Kenya is confident that the court will agree with its submissions,” the objection says. “The two governments must find a solution through amicable agreement, under international law. It is their obligation to do so.”


Oil rich land

The case raised by Somalia stakes claim on oil rich land on the coastal border of Mogadishu. The East African nation accuses Kenya of intruding on its territory through its oil explorations.

“The issue of the Kenyan government violations against our territorial waters has continued for a long time, so it’s the right time to end its fake claim in court,” said Somalia Information Minister, Mohammed Maareeye, last year.


Final decision

The case was formally filed to the ICJ in July, requesting adjustment of the coastal boundary between Kenya and Somalia. Kenya was given eight months to respond and if it successfully opposes the case at this stage, the countries will have to return to negotiations.

However, should the ICJ rule in favour of Somalia’s case, Kenya would lose a significant piece of coastal territory under international law. ICJ rulings rarely offer appeals, meaning the court’s decision would be final, should Kenya fail to oppose and the case goes to court.


Featured image:
ICJ-CJI hearing 1“. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.