The thorny maritime boundary dispute between Somalia and Kenya does not seem to have a solution on the horizon. After Kenya decided to withdraw from the hearings in March this year, the diatribe between the African country and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) continues. This Friday, Kenya’s First Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Macharia Kamau, said the country would not recognise the verdict to be delivered by the ICJ on 12 October.

Kenya’s aversion to this process revolves around three key points: firstly, the presence of a pact, dating back to 2009, between the two countries at the centre of the dispute, which contains directives to resolve the issue amicably. This would not require the passage and verdict of a court. Secondly, Nairobi brought to the court’s attention a similar case from 1965, which, at the time, was considered by the court to be outside its jurisdiction. Finally, the presence of a Somali judge on the jury that will decide on the case has greatly disturbed the Somali government.

In recent months, a number of institutions have moved to try to facilitate a meeting between the two countries. The African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) at the beginning of the year tried to invite both countries for a confrontation in a council session, but Somalia refused as it did not consider it necessary, given the presence of an ongoing trial.

The issue, which officially started in 2014, therefore does not seem likely to be resolved in the short term, 12 October will be an important date to follow developments in the matter.


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