Kenya-Somalia Dispute | 16 Mar 2021

Why in News

Kenya has declined to take part in proceedings of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over its maritime border dispute with neighbouring Somalia.

Key Point

  • Direction of Maritime Boundary:
    • The main point of disagreement between the two neighbours is the direction in which their maritime boundary in the Indian Ocean should extend.
  • Somalia’s Stand:
    • The sea border should be an extension of the same direction in which their land border runs as it approaches the Indian Ocean, i.e. towards the southeast.
  • Kenya’s Stand:
    • The maritime border should run parallel to the equator.
  • Importance of Disputed Area:
    • The triangular area thus created by the dispute is around 1.6 lakh sq. km. large, and boasts of rich marine reserves.
    • It is also believed to have oil and gas deposits.

International Court of Justice

  • ICJ was established in 1945 by the United Nations charter and started working in April 1946.
  • It is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, situated at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands).
  • It settles legal disputes between States and gives advisory opinions in accordance with international law, on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.
  • Its rulings are binding, though the court has no enforcement powers and countries have been known to ignore its verdicts.