MARITIME ROW

Kenya rejects ICJ maritime ruling, cites bias and unfairness

Uhuru swore to do all it takes to protect Kenya's territory.

In Summary

• Uhuru insisted that the ICJ had no jurisdiction to hear the case but went ahead to, notwithstanding the objections that had earlier on been raised by Kenya.

• The President said he took an oath to protect the territorial integrity of the Republic of Kenya and he does not intend to abrogate his oath.

President Uhuru Kenyatta
President Uhuru Kenyatta
Image: PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta has rejected the judgement made by the International Court of Justice on the Kenya-Somalia maritime border row.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Head of State said that Kenya does not recognise the ruling.

"While Kenya is not surprised at the decision, it is profoundly concerned by the import of the decision and its implications for the Horn of Africa region, and international law generally," Uhuru said.

In the ruling, on Tuesday, ICJ awarded Somalia control of most of a potential oil- and a gas-rich chunk of the Indian Ocean after a  legal battle with Kenya over their sea border.

Uhuru accused the court of unfairness and bias for refusing to allow Kenya to exhaust the use of regional dispute resolution mechanisms, despite the existence of a robust African Union legal framework on border issues and dispute settlement.

He insisted that the ICJ had no jurisdiction to hear the case but went ahead to, notwithstanding the objections that had earlier on been raised by Kenya.

"A trend has emerged of some supposedly international organizations, being deployed as political tools against African countries. Sadly, this misfeasance has infected the ICJ, leading it to impose jurisdiction on a dispute it had neither jurisdiction nor competence," the president said.

He also called on the international community to intervene and lead a negotiated settlement between the two countries.

"This decision is, in the circumstances, a zero-sum game, which will strain the relations between the two countries. It will also reverse the social, political and economic gains; and potentially aggravate the peace and security situation in the fragile Horn of Africa Region," Uhuru said.

He assured Kenya's commitment to a diplomatic solution to the current impasse through the institutions of the African Union; including the African Union Border Programme and its Peace and Security, architecture, among others.

The president said he took an oath to protect the territorial integrity of the Republic of Kenya and he does not intend to abrogate his oath.

The ICJ ruled there was "no agreed maritime boundary" and drew a new border close to the one claimed by Somalia, although Kenya kept a part of the 100,000 square-kilometre (38,000-square-mile) area, chief judge Joan Donoghue said.

The Hague-based court asked both parties to amicably solve the current dispute.

The judgement was made by a 14-judge bench led by the President of the ICJ, Joan E. Donoghue.

Edited by D Tarus