GOOBJOOG NEWS|NAIROBI: Somalia will go it alone in the maritime case oral proceedings set for tomorrow after Kenya withdrew protesting the participation of Judge Abdulqawi Yusuf, a Somali national.
According to a letter by Kenya’s attorney General Kihara Kariuki quoted by the Daily Nation, Nairobi has decided to withdraw from the proceedings in what could see the sessions take a short time since Somalia will be the only party in the case.
According to court procedures, the withdrawal of Kenya does not affect the conduct of the case since it (Kenya) had already submitted its written response. In seeking a delay last month, Kenya said it wanted to present witnesses at the court noting this would not be possible if the proceedings are conducted via video link.
“Kenya wishes to inform the court, through the Registrar, that it shall not be participating in the hearings in the case herein, should the same proceed from March 15, 2021, as presently scheduled,” AG Kihara told the UN court.
The continued participation of Judge Yusuf is among Kenya’s reasons for pulling out of the case. It cited Yusuf’s participation in the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea which took place between 1972 and 1983 noting this exposed him to material facts of the case.
“Kenya’s concerns and perception of unfairness and injustice in this matter are exacerbated by the inexplicable rejection of Kenya’s preliminary objections to this court’s jurisdiction and the dismissal of a request for the recusal of judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf given his past exposure on behalf of Somalia, to the issues in this case,” Kenya argued.
Kenya will however bee seeking to address the court for 30 minutes tomorrow to explain its reasons for withdrawing from the case. Somalia and Kenya have been at loggerheads in recent years since the filing of the case in 2014.
The verdict of the ICJ on this matter is not open for appeals but will rely on the UN Security Council for its enforcement.