Somalia has rejected Kenya’s fourth request to delay hearing the maritime border case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Somalia’s Information Minister Osman Dubbe said Mogadishu had petitioned the ICJ to bar Kenya’s request, urging the court to proceed with March 15 hearing date.
“After we found out that Kenya wants the case postponed, this morning we sent a letter to the ICJ stating that the Somali government would never accept a fourth postponement,” the minister told reporters on Thursday.
On January 28, Kenya sought to defer the hearing further, a missing keymap among other material evidence to her case. Media reports indicate that Kenya also advocates for an in-person hearing, arguing that the pandemic has frustrated its preparations and that an in-person hearing would be a level playing field.
Kenya’s Solicitor General Ken Ogeto says, “This is a complex case that requires proper presentation. We have maps, documents that need to be illustrated in court. This would not be possible in a virtual hearing. For such a serious matter to be heard virtually would be “unfair and prejudicial to Kenya.”
Somalia lodged the maritime border case against Kenya in August 2014 after failed diplomatic negotiations. Somalia then asked the court to determine the complete course of the maritime border dividing Kenya and Somalia, including 200 nautical miles of the continental shelf in line with international laws.
The maritime border case march hearing only features oral arguments.