Why Kenya wants its Maritime border case with Somalia pushed from September

Kenya has requested the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to delay the hearing process of its case with neighbouring Somalia following the existing maritime dispute between the two countries.

According to a statement from Attorney General Kihara Kariuki, the country sought for an extended hearing day to enable the recruitment of a new defense team.

 “Due to exceptional circumstances, occasioned by the need to recruit a new defense team, Kenya has sought to have the matter postponed,” Attorney General Kihara Kariuki said in a statement.

The case is scheduled to take place in a weeks’ time with a 15-bench judge whose President is a Somali judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf after when, he will be ready to give a verdict on September 19

If Kenya’s request is granted, the Hague-based court may reschedule the public hearing on new dates.

Under Article 54 of the Rules of the Court, parties to a case may request the bench to alter the date fixed by the Court, “should occasion arise” to either delay the public oral sessions or stop those already going on until a later date.

Somalia sued Kenya at the ICJ, the UN’s principle Court, seeking to change the flow of the maritime boundary from the current eastwards direction from the land border at Kiunga, to a diagonal flow, threating Kenya’s sea stake.

In the preliminary round in which Kenya lost its objection to the Court’s jurisdiction, Nairobi was represented by a team of foreign lawyers hired by the then Attorney General Githu Muigai.

They included Prof Payam Akhavan from the US, Prof Vaughan Lowe QC from the UK, Prof Alan Boyle (British), Prof Mathias Forteau (French), Mr Karim Khan (British) and Ms Amy Sanders (British).

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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