How ICJ judgement left Somalia richer than Kenya

MOGADISHU, Somalia – Somalia will be the biggest beneficiary following the International Court of Justice [ICJ] ruling on the maritime border dispute with Kenya, it has been established, in what would significantly improve the economy of the country once the judgment is implemented.

After seven years of tussles, the International Court of Justice made a lengthy ruling, which left Nairobi fuming and questioning the legitimacy of the court, arguing that it lacks the mandate to handle the case because “it’s out of its jurisdiction”.

While Somalia backed the ruling, Kenya has vowed not to respect the outcome on grounds that the court “overstepped its mandate”. It’s not clear what action President Uhuru Kenyatta will take, but there are chances he’s moving to United Nations Security Council [UNSC].

Before such actions are taken, it has emerged that Somalia is the biggest beneficiary of the ruling since most of the contested oil blocks will be possessed by the Horn of Africa nation. The genesis of the conflict was oil blocks which have been underutilized for centuries.

A maritime expert who spoke to Voice of America Somali said seven oil blocks mentioned in paragraph 204 of ICJ Judgment, six now lie wholly or party on Somalia’s side, in what would now boost revenue for the country once the ruling is implemented.

Only L-26 remains entirely within Kenya’s Economic Zone or continental shelf. Blocks L-5, L-13, L-21, and L-22 and portions of L-23 and L-24 are on Somalia’s side according to the expert who did wish to be mentioned due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The expert, who has been studying the geography of the region told VOA that one of the seven packages passed through Kenya, four through Somalia, and the other two across the border. The two sides are divided, although most of the land on which the bundles are located passes through Somalia.

He told VOA that the next eastbound L-26 had passed through Kenya, while parts of L-23 and L-24 had also passed through Kenya. The remaining L-5, L-13, L-21, L-22, and most of the L-23 and L-24 kits are passing through Somalia, according to the expert.

He confirmed that the package, which naval experts believe is the most valuable, had passed through Somalia.

The Kenyan government has said it will never accept the ICJ ruling. A statement from the office of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta also stated that Kenya wants the issue to be resolved peacefully and through dialogue with the African Union.

Abdirizak Mohamed, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, confirmed that the ruling favours Somalia. Kenya’s request to have the boundary be determined straight from the land to the sea was rejected, with Somalia gaining despite not getting all the demands in the case.

The Minister also conducted a special investigation and found that most of the packages had passed through Somalia, he told VOA. A group of legislators from Kenya has urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to reject the ruling.

The ruling is legally binding, though the court has no enforcement powers.

How ICJ judgement left Somalia richer than Kenya
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