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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

ICJ rejects Kenya’s request to postpone maritime case

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International Court of Justice has rejected Kenya’s request to have the maritime delimitation case with Somalia postponed for a 4th time.

The Court on Saturday informed the Somalia and Kenya that the hearings of the case would proceed as scheduled starting March 15 this year in a hybrid format.

Nairobi had last month petitioned Justice Court to postpone the public hearings as it protested at a missing map crucial to its case.

Kenya also objected to proceedings via video link, arguing COVID-19 has frustrated Kenya’s preparations for the case and insisting only in-person hearings would guarantee a level playing field.

Kenya’s Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki in a letter dated Jan 28 said Nairobi shall not participate in a hearing as a mere formality, given “grave dangers to the country’s national security” depending on the outcome of the case that was filed in 2014.

“Kenya will be unable to defend itself “fairly, fully and transparently” if the scheduled hearing proceeded by video link,” read part of Kariuki’s letter.

Kariuki in his letter cited lack of substantive government in Mogadishu since the current terms of both Parliament and President Mohamed Farmajo have expired as well as the COVID-19 pandemic as the reasons it wants the case postponed.

“Having duly considered the arguments presented by the parties, the court has decided to maintain the hearings as scheduled, starting March 15,” said ICJ.

According to ICJ, there is a possibility for a limited number of representatives of the parties to appear in person in the Great Hall of Justice.

The other representatives will make their oral presentations through a video link.

The two neighbouring states have further been asked to send the list of persons who will present the oral arguments on behalf of the two sides from which location they will do so, in which language they will speak and for approximately how long.

The court further insisted that the information provided will assist the registry in ensuring the smooth preparation and running of the hearing.

Somalia had written e to the court protesting Kenya’s request to have the case postponed.

Mogadishu in the protest letter said it wanted the case to proceed without further delay.

Somalia’s Information Minister Osman Dubbe said Mogadishu had petitioned the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to reject Kenya’s request for further postponement.

“We have rejected Kenya’s fourth request to the ICJ to postpone the two countries’ maritime case. Justice delayed is justice denied. We should be set to head to the Hague court on the 15th of March come what may. Long live Somalia,” Dubbe posted on his Twitter

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