To everyone’s surprise, Kenya withdrew from the maritime dispute case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ahead of a hearing scheduled for Monday, following months of delays at the request of Nairobi authorities.
Kenyan media have reported that Kenya has withdrawn from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) case ahead of a hearing scheduled for Monday, following months of delays at the request of Nairobi officials.
In 2019, the case was postponed twice and Nairobi managed to postpone it a third time in March 2020, but the court refused to postpone it a fourth time this year, arguing that Kenya’s reasons were not compelling enough.
In a closed-door meeting, the Somali delegation representing the maritime case discussed the escalating situation in the maritime case and Kenya’s refusal to attend the two countries’ hearing scheduled for Monday, March 15, 2021.
The delegation reaffirmed the Federal Government of Somalia’s decision on the case and its commitment to a hearing, as Kenya has been accepted several times before for a postponement, and Somalia has not had a single excuse or request submitted to the ICJ.
The ICJ last week issued a timetable that will run until Wednesday next week, but Kenya’s latest withdrawal will be a major blow, with lawyers believing the court is likely to continue the hearing.
Although the current timetable is for both countries, the hearing will be shortened for the Somali team to present their case; that will depend on until Kenya makes a last-minute decision to change its position and participate.
I will take at least another 4-6 months before the court makes a final decision. This is because each judge needs time to process the case and base it on arguments and evidence at the scheduled hearing.