NAIROBI DEC, 18 — Kenya has filed her response (the Counter-Memorial) to the case filed by Somalia with the registry of the International Court of Justice (The ICJ) in The Hague, The Netherlands.
The case is with regard to the delimitation of the maritime boundary between Kenya and Somalia in the Indian Ocean. Somalia instituted proceedings against Kenya on 28 August 2014.
In its case, Somalia claims that the maritime boundary between the two countries should be an equidistant line and that Kenya’s oil exploration activities in the disputed area are unlawful.
On the other hand, Kenya’s case is that, the maritime boundary with Somalia is along a parallel of latitude as first claimed in the Presidential Proclamation of 1979.
This maritime boundary was revised for greater accuracy in a second Presidential Proclamation in 2005.
In 2009, in its submission to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, Kenya extended its claim beyond 200 nautical miles to the outer limits of its continental shelf.
Somalia has for over 35 years recognized and respected the maritime boundary between the two countries along a parallel of latitude.
It was only in 2014, shortly before filing its case with the Court, that Somalia claimed a maritime boundary along an equidistance line, ignoring the over 35 years practice of recognizing and respecting the maritime boundary along a parallel of latitude.
Somalia admits these facts but does not recognize their legal effect.
“Kenya asserts that all her activities including navy patrols, fisheries practice, marine and scientific research and oil exploration are within the maritime boundary established by Kenya and recognized and respected by both parties since 1979,” the response by Kenya’s Attorney General Githu Muigai reads in part.
“ While respecting the important role that the Court plays in resolving disputes and promoting international peace and security, Kenya maintains that a negotiated solution to the maritime dispute is the best way of addressing the complexities and sensitivities surrounding boundary matters,” Muigai said on Monday.
The position, the AG said, is entrenched in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and several resolutions and decisions of the African Union Heads of State and Government adopted since 1964.
The Court is expected to give direction on the next course of action in early 2018.
“This case notwithstanding, Kenya will continue supporting efforts to stabilize Somalia considering that the continued instability caused by insecurity pose an existential threat to Kenya and to the region. Kenya is fully committed to protecting her boundaries in order to safeguard her territorial integrity.”