Kenya-Somalia Sea border dispute court case begins

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Picture courtesy DW

A maritime border case between Kenya and Somalia that will clear ownership of an area with oil and gas potential begins today at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.

Somalia sued Kenya in 2014 asking for a proper determination of the sea border between the two countries. Somalia wants the border to continue along the line of the land border, to the southeast diagonally and says a horizontal border would be unfair. Kenya, however, wants the sea border to go in a straight line east, a boundary that has existed since 1924 according to the East African.

In Kenya’s situation, it means Somalia wants the boundary to extend diagonally to the south at Kiunga into the sea, and not eastwards as it is today but that may also affect Kenya’s sea border with Tanzania.

Kenya wants the case struck out on grounds that a 2009 agreement with Somalia stated that the dispute should be settled by negotiation and not by recourse to the court.

Somalia is being defended by American lawyer Paul Reichler and Prof Allain Pellet (French) according to the Nation. Kenya will be represented by Attorney-General Githu Muigai and a team of international lawyers.

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