line call

Kenya loses out to Somalia in maritime border arbitration

By Morris Kiruga

Premium badge Reserved for subscribers

Posted on October 12, 2021 16:05

An aerial view shows the ongoing developments at the new 32-berth Lamu Port in Lamu County
An aerial view shows the ongoing developments at the new 32-berth Lamu Port in Lamu County, Kenya December 9, 2020. Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that the disputed maritime triangle between Kenya and Somalia be split between the two neighbours.

In a ruling that favoured Somalia’s claim of a border line equidistant to its land border, the court disputed Kenya’s claim that Somalia had historically acquiesced to its border claim.

The court found “…there is no agreed maritime boundary between the Federal Republic of Somalia and the Republic of Kenya that follows the parallel of latitude”, thereby disputing Nairobi’s claim.

Instead, the court, in a ruling read by the court’s president, Judge Joan E. Donoghue (USA), split the disputed maritime region by shifting the equidistance border Somalia claims slightly northwards, splitting the triangle in half.

It argued that the equidistance line would have a cut-off effect on Kenya’s maritime territory. It also declined Somalia’s submissions that Kenya had violated its territorial integrity and international laws in the disputed region.

© ICJ ruling map

‘Obvious and inherent bias’

The decision to split the

There's more to this story

Get unlimited access to our exclusive journalism and features today. Our award-winning team of correspondents and editors report from over 54 African countries, from Cape Town to Cairo, from Abidjan to Abuja to Addis Ababa. Africa. Unlocked.

Subscribe Now

cancel anytime