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The Feud Between Somalia Has Started Causing Conflicts At Indian Ocean

The maritime dispute between Kenya and Somalia is not the proverbial squabble between two bald men over a comb. The 100, 000 square kilometers of water on Africa' s Indian Ocean seaboard, which is said to be rich in fish and hydrocarbon reserves and to be the focus of a recent controversial ruling by the Hague- based International Court of Justice, is the smallest area over which countries have gone to war (ICJ). The court' s judicial overreach is the most recent threat to peace in Africa' s Indian Ocean zone, according to experts.

A minefield of mischief and distrust lay in wait for them on the way to court. In 2009, the two neighbours reached an agreement to resolve their dispute through bilateral negotiations rather than through the courts. Somalia reneged, rushed to the International Court of Justice, and railroaded Kenya into the case, claiming that diplomatic efforts to resolve the matter had failed. Somalia objected to Kenya' s eastern border, which runs parallel to the parallel of latitude, insisting on an equidistant border running south- eastwards from Kenya.

Kenya withdrew from the court because it believed that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) lacked jurisdiction over the case and that the ICJ' s takeover of the one- sided arbitration amounted to the use of pseudo- judicial processes to undermine territorial integrity. The net result of Somalia' s territorial ambitions is that its border with Tanzania would have intersected with Tanzania' s, effectively cutting Kenya off from the rest of the world.

Its decision acquiesced to Somalia' s proposed border, awarding the vast majority of the disputed territory to Somalia and a small sliver of it to Kenya in order to create a narrow strait into the open sea and prevent Somalia from becoming a landlocked country, as had been feared. Somalia' s pursuit of reparations, on the other hand, was rejected.

As a result of the ruling, peace and security in Africa' s Indian Ocean region, as well as beyond, will be significantly enhanced. First and foremost, it has strained already strained relations between Somalia and Kenya. Kenya is expected to resist the reduction of its current maritime territory— approximately 255, 000 kilometres in length in accordance with a parallel latitude established in 1979— by more than 40%!

President Uhuru Kenyatta rejected the verdict, describing it as a ' zero- sum game, ' and vowed that Kenya would not cede a single inch of its territory to the United States. In this zone, Kenya has had unfettered sovereignty for more than 50 years, and its sailors, seafarers, marine scientists, and fishermen have carried out the philosophy of effective occupation, which has been in effect since the 1950s.

A dispute over the maritime border

If this judgement is implemented, the ports of Mombasa and Lamu may become less attractive to international maritime traffic. President Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo, meanwhile, has welcomed the judgement as a " historic victory, " sending pan- Somali nationalism into a frenzy over the decision.

One of the most perplexing mysteries is why there are no territorial disputes over the sea borders that separate Tanzania from Mozambique from South Africa, and all of which run parallel eastwards. Possible solutions lie in the fact that Somalia is extending what appears to be its lengthy history of making false and risky territorial claims against its neighbours on land and sea, all the way into the oceans.

In the 1960s, Somalia broke the African Union' s concept of respect for borders that existed at the time of independence, instead relying on the ideology of " Greater Somalia" to assert claims to the lands of its neighbouring countries. The outcomes were disastrous. The Shifta War (1963- 1967) was triggered by Somalia' s territorial claims over Kenya' s northern region. It was only ended when Somalia renounced its territorial claims and signed the Arusha Agreement on October 23, 1967, which was brokered by regional leaders— Kenneth Kaunda, Julius Nyerere, and Milton Obote— that the war came to an end. The " Ogaden War, " which erupted in 1977- 78 as a result of Somalia' s expansionist ambitions in Ethiopia' s Somali region, claimed the lives of more than 4, 000 people.

The ruling goes to the heart of the very spirit and purpose for why the International Criminal Court was established as the judicial arm of the United Nations Security Council. It is specifically stated in Article 94 of the UN Charter that " each Member of the United Nations undertakes to comply with any decision of the International Court of Justice in any dispute to which it is a party. "

In this case, " consent" is the key word. If Somalia and Kenya had mutually agreed to take their dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the court' s decision would have been final and binding on Nairobi. Kenya, on the other hand, was dragged into the case by the court.

Alternatives requiring a lot of power

The ruling, which applies to the African continent' s larger Indian Ocean region, is reminiscent of the historian' s conclusion that Maximilien Robespierre, an influential figure in the French Revolution whose obsession with its ideals cost so many lives, would have made a better man if he had focused on rose- growing instead. On this note, the International Court of Justice would have become a better court had it concentrated on articulating the relevant concepts that would make maritime demarcation essentially a non- adversary and peaceful process.

instead of this, the International Court of Justice' s decision forces Kenya and Tanzania to reexamine their 2009 mutual agreement, which established the common maritime boundary as a straight line through the island of Pemba. It has the potential to torpedo existing negotiations over other difficult maritime borders involving Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, the Comoros, and the Seychelles, among other countries and territories. Tanzania has already expressed its willingness in engaging in discussions with Somalia on the maritime boundary with the United Nations Commission on the Continental Shelf (CLCS) through the UN Commission on the Continental Shelf (UNCCS). Tanzania, like it was in the 1960s, is, however, a natural mediator in the Kenya- Somalia conflict.

Those countries that have rejected ICJ

Kenya has joined a growing list of UN members who have refused to recognize the International Court of Justice' s rulings and have withdrawn their acceptance of the court' s obligatory jurisdiction, including the United States, China, and Russia, among others. Unlike domestic legal systems, international law does not have an enforcement mechanism that is analogous to that of those systems.

According to Article 94 (2), " If any party to a case fails to perform the obligations incumbent upon it under a judgment rendered by the Court, the other party may have recourse to the Security Council, which, if it deems necessary, may make recommendations or decide on measures that should be taken to give effect to the judgment. " As a non- permanent member of the UN Security Council for the year 2021- 2022, Kenya would dither in pursuing this option, especially as Kenyatta will serve as the Council' s president for the month of October during that term.

Instead, the power elite in Villa Somalia may choose for a more aggressive approach involving force. Prior to the International Court of Justice' s decision, rumours on social media circulated that the Turkish Parliament had accepted a vote to deploy their naval fleet in Somalia' s territorial waters in the middle of October.

Somalia had requested Turkey to explore for oil in its waters, according to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who made the announcement earlier in January of this year. As a result, Somalia' s hardliners argue that the government is relying on Turkey, which is already assisting with road construction in the country and training Somali military, to act as a trusted partner in order to protect its waterways and natural resources. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has become a part of the issue rather than a solution in its first judgement on the Africa- Indian Ocean zone.

Content created and supplied by: KevinGatesKenya (via Opera News )

Indian Ocean International Court of Justice Kenya Somalia


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