Public hearing for Kenya- Somalia maritime dispute to start on March 15

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Map showing disputed maritime area. Image: FILE

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will hold a public hearing for the maritime dispute involving Kenya and Somalia on March 15, 2021.

In a statement, ICJ said the hearing will open at 3pm at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the seat of the Court.

“In view of the current Covid-19 pandemic, the hearings will be held in a hybrid format. Some members of the Court will attend the oral proceedings in person in the Great Hall of Justice while others will participate remotely by video link,” the court said.

The court said that the representatives of the parties involved in the case will participate either in person or by video link.

The hearings will be streamed live and on-demand (VOD) in English and French on the Court’s website, as well as on UN Web TV.

Somalia instituted proceedings against Kenya at Hague on August 28, 2014, after disagreeing with Kenya about the location of the maritime boundary in the area where their maritime entitlements overlap.

The diplomatic negotiations between the two countries failed to resolve the stalemate.

According to Somalia, Kenya’s current position on the maritime boundary is that it should be a straight line emanating from the parties’ land boundary terminus, “and extending due east along the parallel of latitude on which the land boundary terminus sits, through the full extent of the territorial sea, EEZ and continental shelf, including the continental shelf beyond 200.”

In February, the Court rejected Kenya’s request to have the maritime delimitation case with Somalia postponed for a fourth time.

The Court informed the two parties that the hearings of the case would proceed as scheduled starting March 15 in a hybrid format.

Kenya had petitioned the Court to postpone the public hearings as it protested at a missing map crucial to its case.

Also, the court said that members of the diplomatic corps, the media and the public will follow the hearings through a live webcast on the Court’s website, as well as on UN Web TV, the UN online television channel.