Top UN Court Rules in Favor of Somalia in Sea Border Dispute with Kenya

The United Nations’ (UN) top court on Oct. 12 largely ruled in favor of Somalia in a legal dispute with neighboring Kenya over their sea border.

In a 79-page judgement, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that there was “no agreed maritime boundary” and drew a new line, splitting the disputed area of a 100,000 square kilometer triangle in the Indian Ocean into two.

The new line passes closer to the boundary claimed by Somalia, although Kenya kept a part of it.

The area concerned is thought to be rich in oil and gas and has important fishing rights.

Somalian Interior Minister Osman Dubbe hailed the ruling on Twitter.

“Finally we made it. Thanks to all great lawyers who represented Somalia on the International Court of Justice. 12th October, our national flag day will be another historic day for all Somalis,” Dubbe said.

However, Kenya said last week that it would not recognize the ruling made by the ICJ.

“As a sovereign nation Kenya shall no longer be subjected to an international court or tribunal without its express consent,” Kenyan Foreign Affairs Ministry said ahead of the judgment, withdrawing from the recognition of ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.

Rulings by the ICJ are binding and cannot be appealed. Although the court has no means to enforce its rulings, it can refer violations to the UN.

The maritime dispute has been at the heart of diplomatic tensions between the East African neighbors.

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