Kenya: Kenya asks UN Court to dismiss Somali maritime border challenge

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - Kenya has maintained that relations with Somalia remain warm even as Attorney-General Githu Muigai took to the stand to oppose a maritime border case filed by the Somali government at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), a UN court.

The Attorney-General said the Kenya government believes the ICJ case submitted by Somalia against Kenya is not within the jurisdiction of the Court and is inadmissible.

Kenya wants the court to dismiss the case in which Somalia wants a ruling on territorial waters currently earmarked for oil exploration by the Kenyan government.

Speaking in court during Day Three of  the Somalia Kenya Case of the Preliminary Objections on the maritime delimitation in the Indian Ocean at The Hague, in The Netherlands, Muigai said Somalia’s accusations of bad faith against Kenya should be assessed.

“Somalia would have the Court believe that, during all these years, Kenya has been scheming to take advantage of its neighbour, to steal its sea and oil. Such accusations are absurd, and they are hurtful,” the Attorney-General said in a statement delivered in Court Wednesday.

“They are unfair and disrespectful to a Government and people that have sacrificed so much in support of Somalia,” Muigai added.

The Attorney-General stated it was common ground that Kenya has exercised uncontested jurisdiction in this maritime area since it first proclaimed its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in 1979.

He said the boundary was an extension of the territorial sea boundary that reflected prior colonial practice. During the course of this dispute, Muigai said Kenya has caused no prejudice to Somalia’s legal rights. He told court that Kenya limited itself to limited exploration which has also been suspended.

The Kenyan government said it is not in dispute either that Kenya faces a very real security threat by reason of Al Shabaab weapons smuggling and infiltration at sea.

The Kenyan government also said the areas in dispute pose a security challenge. Nairobi said it was not in dispute that Somalia has no maritime enforcement capacity, and will have none in the foreseeable future.

The Kenyan navy has incurred significant costs in patrolling this maritime area under an African Union mandate, with the endorsement of the United Nations Security Council.
-0- PANA AO/VAO 22Sept2016

22 september 2016 18:55:24

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