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ICJ rules that Kenya-Somalia maritime dispute to proceed to full trial


<p>Kenya’s maritime dispute with neighbouring Somalia will now proceed to full trial at the International court of Justice (<span class="caps">ICJ</span>) at The Hague.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>Kenya through Attorney General (AG) Githu Muigai, had argued that the <span class="caps">ICJ</span> did not have jurisdiction over the case brought by Somalia in 2014.</p> <p>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.” </p> <p>Kenya had filed the objection banking on an existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) entered between the two countries in 2009.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>The ruling could potentially affect exploration rights Kenya has granted to a number of oil companies.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.”</p> <p>The case will go forward at the <span class="caps">ICJ</span> and new hearings will be scheduled, but a decision is likely years away.</p>
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