Kenya faults ICJ process on Somalia maritime border row ahead of verdict

Kenya on Friday raised a pre-verdict storm against the International Court of Justice due on Tuesday, saying the judges’ decision will be a product of a “flawed” process.

As such, Nairobi announced it had withdrawn the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court, which usually ensures that court decisions must be obeyed and cases filed must receive consent of the sued party. It advised the court on this withdrawal on September 24.

The move was announced in Nairobi by Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau as the ICJ prepares to announce the verdict of a maritime boundary case filed by Somalia next week on Tuesday. Somalia had demanded a redraw of the maritime boundary in what could alter the flow and the size of waters in Kenya’s territory should the ICJ rule in favour of Somalia.

“The delivery of the Judgment will be the culmination of a flawed judicial process that Kenya has had reservations with, and withdrawn from, on account not just of its obvious and inherent bias but also of its unsuitability to resolve the dispute at hand,” Kamau said, suggesting the suit was seen from the outset as a threat to Kenya’s territorial integrity.

“For these reasons, and in addition to withdrawing its participation from the current case, Kenya, on the 24th September, 2021, also joined many other members of the United Nations in withdrawing its recognition of the Court’s compulsory jurisdiction. As a sovereign nation, Kenya shall no longer be subjected to an international court or tribunal without its express consent.”

The Court of 15 judges will make its final verdict on Tuesday and is expected to issue instructions on what the two countries must do. The judgement is usually binding if both parties have subscribed to its jurisdiction, and the case filed by a member state.


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