Kenya appeals for postponement of maritime case with Somalia, again


NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenya is yet again looking for postponement of the Indian Ocean maritime case with Somalia, in the latest attempt to have the matter dragged at the International Court of Justice [ICJ] at The Hague.

So far, the case has been postponed thrice following the request of Kenya much to the disappointment of Somalia, which has been pushing for an expedited hearing of the matter. The first occasion was in September 2019 after Kenya changed her defense team.

In November the same year, Nairobi appealed for more time to have the legal team prepare, forcing the judge to postpone the matter to June 2020. When the matter came up for hearing, Nairobi yet again requested more time, citing the Covid-19 pandemic which was ravaging the entire world.

And yet again, Kenya has made a formal application to have the maritime case postponed, raising quite a number of fundamental issues. The case was set to commence in March 2021 and the presiding judge had last year warned that the court may not postpone the hearing again.

Some of the issues raised by Nairobi include the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left close to 1500 people died in the East Africa nation. The country has also recorded thousands of infections compared to Somalia, a nation with little ability to make more tests.

Further, Nairobi alleges that one of the keymap that was to be presented as evidence in the court had mysteriously vanished. The map is said to be containing crucial information that would have helped the defense team proceed with the case.

Somalia and Kenya have been at loggerheads over the oil-rich Indian Ocean coastline which stretches several kilometers, and the two nations first failed to reach an amicable solution in 2014. Later on, Somalia under former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud moved to ICJ.

Importantly, the two countries have been having hot and cold relationships including the latest diplomatic spat over the Gedo region, where Kenya is accused of sponsoring Jubaland security forces against the Somali National Army.

However, a team from IGAD vindicated Nairobi of any wrongdoing in a report which was released recently.


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