ICJ postpones Somalia-Kenya maritime case by 10 months over Covid-19

The International Court of Justice has given in to Kenya’s third request and postponed the Somalia and Kenya’s maritime dispute case hearing by another 10 months.

A letter by the ICJ to the two parties communicates that the hearing scheduled for June 8-12The Brief on May 17  is now is delayed to 15 March 2021 due to the exceptional circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Brief on May 17 reported that Somalia rejected a new request dated April 23 by Kenya to have the maritime delimitation hearing case postponed.
Already, Kenya has asked for postponement twice, forcing the International Court of Justice to delay the hearing twice.

Somalia’s Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohammed Gulaid told the BBC last week that his country objected to a new petition from Kenya asking to delay the hearing because of the virus outbreak.

Kenya said the pandemic had wreaked havoc on its economy and its plans to defend itself.

Somalia had asked the court to hold the hearing virtually using video technology, BBC said.

Somalia’s Deputy Prime Minister told the BBC that his government is not happy with the court’s decision, but will adhere to it.

The ICJ delayed the case in October last year on the understanding that no further postponement would be granted.

“Again the Court wishes to remind the Parties that the written proceedings, in this case, are already closed. The parties should proceed to the hearings in accordance with the Rules of Court,” the letter stated.

Kenya has been hoping for an out of court settlement on the matter but Somalia has insisted on letting the court decide.

It has previously hinted at not trusting the ICJ, accusing its northern neighbour of ignoring local and continental mechanisms to resolve the dispute.

September 19, 2016, was the first time that Kenya appeared before the ICJ and the position then was and still remains that the Court was not competent to decide the maritime dispute.

Kenya has always maintained its position that it did not consent to the Court’s jurisdiction over disputes where it had agreed to other methods of settlement, including the April 7, 2009 MoU.

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