Kenya has announced that it will not take part in the hearings of its maritime border case with Somalia that were scheduled to start today, 15th March 2021, at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Kenya is protesting against the “bias and unwillingness of the court” to accept its request to delay the hearings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and also the presence of Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, a Somali national, as one of the main judges for the case.
On 28th January, Kenya sought to defer the hearing further due to a missing keymap, among other material evidence to her case. However, in February, Somalia rejected Kenya’s fourth request to delay hearing the maritime border case and urged the court to proceed with the 15th March hearing date.
Somalia lodged the maritime border case against Kenya in August 2014 after failed diplomatic negotiations. The dispute between the East African countries relates to a resource-rich area of 62,000 square miles (160,580 square kilometres) in the Indian Ocean. The disputed maritime territory is believed to hold vast oil and gas deposits and is also one of East Africa’s richest fishing grounds.