Kenya Defeated over Somalia’s Maritime Dispute

Commonly, stronger states like to bully weaker ones to exploit their resources. Kenya tried hard to snatch Somalia’s resources, but miscalculated its might and failed miserably.

Kenya put forth a false claim the purpose of which was to seize a large portion of Somalia’s sea. This is an area of a 100,000 sq km triangle in the Indian Ocean which is rich in oil and gas. The bogus claim perplexed Somalia and boiled its blood. 

Astounded by the necked assertion, Somalia submitted a complaint to the International Court in 2014; and the country’s successive administrations rolled up their sleeves and sharpened their pens to make sure that Kenya couldn’t get away with the unfounded claim. 

On its part, Kenya tried to play a bilateral card and persuade Somalia to negotiate regarding the disputed territorial sea. However, Somalia didn’t want to be part of any under-table talks. There wasn’t anything to negotiate about. Kenya was transgressing; Somalia was persisting and preserving its God-given territorial waters.     

Both countries submitted their arguments to the International Justice Court (ICJ). Pompously, Kenya thought it would prevail, not considering its rival’s merit and weight. Somalia believed that it was the rightful owner of the disputed territorial waters, so it wouldn’t give in under any influence or pressure. 

Several court hearings had been conducted before the last verdict was reached, some of which Kenya didn’t attend. It claimed that some significant documents of hers had disappeared, requesting to have some hearings postponed. The country always came up with excuses, forcing the ICJ to specify a final date for the matter. 

That final date was 12 October 2021. It’s a fateful day. The International Justice Court reached a verdict in which it ruled the disputed maritime for Somalia, save a little portion of it. The court’s ruling put a big smile on Somalis’ faces, irrespective of their locations. They praised God, drummed, composed poems, and rejoiced with one another. The verdict was an immense victory for them. 

Kenya has been unhappy with the ICJ’S ruling, but the ruling can’t be reversed. It’s a done deal. With Kenya refusing the verdict, relations between the two countries aren’t likely to improve that much. Somalia has urged its neighbor to respect the rule of law and adhere to the International Court’s decision.