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Somalia files its response over maritime boundary dispute with Kenya

By ELIUD KIBII

Somalia on Monday submitted its response to the Indian Ocean (Somalia vs Kenya) maritime delimitation case at the Hague as directed by the court on February 2.

The submission was done by Somalia Ambassador to the EU Ali Faqi in the presence of Attorney General Amed Dahir.

AG Dahir tweeted: “#Somalia submitted the reply in the maritime delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia vs Kenya) case @CIJ_ICJ today at the Hague on time. Somalia Agent: Ambassador Ali Faqi made the submission on behalf of Somalia. I was present at the submission.”

The details of the response were not accessible immediately.

The reply was necessitated by a request by Somalia to respond to emerging legal issues in the counter-memorial by Kenya in December last year. This was in a meeting with the President of the International Court of Justice in January 30.

In the reply, Githu Muigai, the then Attorney General, said Kenya maintains the maritime border remains as it is and the dispute be solved through negotiations and other existing avenues.

The legal team submitted that the maritime boundary is along a parallel of latitude as was decreed in the Presidential Proclamation of 1979.

“This position is entrenched in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and several resolutions and decisions of the African Union Heads of State and Government adopted since 1964,” the AG said through a statement.

In its case, Somalia says the maritime boundary between the two states should be at an equidistant line and that Kenya’s oil exploration activities in the disputed area are unlawful.

In February last year, Kenya lost the first round of the case to Somalia in its bid to stop the matter from going to full hearing..

Judges at the ICJ dismissed the two main reasons given by Kenya that there exists an alternative method of resolving the matter through an MoU and that the case is invalid because the alternative method had not been exhausted.

The Kenyan legal team also argued that ICJ lacked jurisdiction since the two countries had agreed on an alternative dispute settlement through the MoU signed by Kenya’s then Foreign minister Moses Wetang’ula and Somalia’s then Minister of Planning.

Kenya will file its rejoinder on December 18.

Source: The Star

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