ICJ sets new maritime border in ruling on Somalia-Kenya dispute
There’s a new ruling on the dispute over the maritime border between Kenya and Somalia, but that doesn’t mean that either nation got everything it wanted from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.
Somalia has long argued that it never agreed to a maritime border, or legal agreements based on any such border with respect to territorial waters and economic zones. Kenya, meanwhile, insisted that a maritime border exists between the two Horn of Africa neighbors and that Somalia agreed to it years ago.
Kenya also said if for some reason the court decided there is no border agreement on the basis of previous iterations, then the ICJ should place the border along the same line anyway because it represents a “de facto” border made clear by existing fishing rights, military patrols, and other activity in place between 1979 and 2014.
“There is no de facto maritime boundary between Somalia and Kenya,” the court ruling said. That maritime border was based entirely on geographical latitude, and was repeatedly rejected by the Somali government.
The ICJ decision draws a new border that’s more in keeping with what Somalia pressed for, and while it is a legally binding decision, the ICJ is not responsible for its enforcement.
At the same time, Somalia was denied any reparations related to the maritime border. The court did not find, among other things, that oil concessions in the affected waters had caused permanent environmental damage.
The complete ICJ ruling is available here.
Image: ICC file