Khalif Idris Osman told Goobjoog News the claim by Kenya was laughable noting that Somalia must engage with the International Court of Justice with all resource at its disposal to ensure the matter is disposed of. “As an expert on maritime issues, I can assure that the land in question is squarely Somalia’s and any claim to the contrary is just a joke,” said Osman.
There has been clamor from different commentators and the public at large to pressure Somali Government to handle the case firmly and ‘not to give up any inch that belongs to Somalia’. Somali government officially filed a 150-page application two weeks ago seeking the global court’s intervention on the maritime border dispute with Kenya.
Out of court settlement
Kenya on its part has always talked of out of court settlement with the latest brief to the Kenyan parliament by the Foreign Affairs minister Amina Mohamed that Somalia had agreed to withdraw its case and opted for out of court settlement, an assertion vehemently refuted by Somalia.
Somalia in its application is requesting the ICJ to “determine, on the basis of international law, the complete course of the single maritime boundary dividing all the maritime areas appertaining to Somalia and to Kenya in the Indian Ocean, including the continental shelf beyond 200 [nautical miles].” It also asks the ICJ “to determine the precise geographical coordinates of the single maritime boundary in the Indian Ocean.”
This portion of the sea is reportedly rich in gas and petroleum deposits and Kenya has already contracted foreign companies to explore the resource. However all but one company have pulled out of the contracts for fear of the judicial ramifications. Attorney General Ahmed Dahir says his office had warned oil companies in question to withdraw from the contracts as they were not legitimate but the Italian oil explorer ENI is still conducting exploration in the contested areas.
According to the ICJ rules, Kenya has up to eight months to file its response meaning that the case may start as from March 2016.
ICJ is a United Nations court tasked with arbitrating disputes between states and has on a number of occasions ruled on boundary issues between many countries including the long time contested Bakassi Peninsula between Nigeria and Cameroon in 1999. The court ruled in favour of Cameroon and the territory was transferred to Cameroon in August 14, 2008.