No turning back on maritime case, Somalia says, expresses confidence in ICJ judges

Somalia has dismissed attempts by sKenya to postpone the hearing of the maritime case slated for next week at the International Court of Justice noting it was confident the global court would deliver fairness.

Addressing the AU Peace and Security Council, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Abdulkadir Mohamed Kheyr said his country had put its bet on the ICJ judges to pronounce itself on the matter.

“Somalia is confident of the International Court of Justice to handle and deliver fairness to both sides,” said Kheyr.

Somalia’s response following a petition by Kenya to the AU Peace and Security Council to have the case handled through the African Union dispute resolution mechanisms.

Kenya argued that the Hague based court will  not be ‘sensitive to political and cultural issues’, and advised that the case could distract countries from cooperating on key security issues, as well as potentially reopening boundary debates between countries on the Eastern Africa coast.

According to the court’s timetable, the public hearings will commence September 9-13 but that could also change given Kenya’s latest move to defer the hearings.

The State Law Office said Tuesday it had sought the indulgence of the court to postpone the hearings to allow it (Kenya) select new team of lawyers.

“Due to exceptional circumstances, occasioned by the need to recruit a new defence team, Kenya has sought to have the matter postponed,” Attorney General KiharaKariuki said.

“The Rules of the Court allows for postponement of the hearing of the case to afford the parties an opportunity to be represented.”

A Ugandan legal activist David Matsanga writing on behalf of an organisation dubbed Pan African Forum last week urged the ICJ president Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf to recuse himself from the case owing to ‘conflict of interest’.