Kenya’s maritime dispute with neighbouring Somalia will now proceed to full trial at the International court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague.
UN’s highest court agreed on Thursday to hear a case by Somalia brought against her neighbour Kenya, after the court dismissed Kenya’s preliminary objections.
Kenya through Attorney General (AG) Githu Muigai, had argued that the ICJ did not have jurisdiction over the case brought by Somalia in 2014.
But the court through its President, Judge Ronny Abraham, said,“the court finds that Kenya’s preliminary objection to the jurisdiction of the case must be rejected.”
Kenya had filed the objection banking on an existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) entered between the two countries in 2009.
The disputed territory in the Indian Ocean is estimated to be over 100,000 square kilometres and is believed to hold valuable deposits of oil and gas.
The ruling could potentially affect exploration rights Kenya has granted to a number of oil companies.
Following the ruling Kenya’s AG told reporters in Nairobi that Kenya “regretted the decision and argued that litigation could affect questions of maritime enforcement and security,” referring to al- Shabaab activities in the area.
Somalia through it Ambassador in the Benelux, Ali Said Faqi, hailed the ruling saying,“the government and Somali people welcome the courts fair and just decision.”
The case will go forward at the ICJ and new hearings will be scheduled, but a decision is likely years away.