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What is Kenya-Somalia Maritime Border Dispute?

Kenya-Somalia Dispute:

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

Direction of Maritime Boundary:

  • The main point of disagreement between the two neighbors 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.