NAIROBI (Reuters) - The International Court of Justice rejected Kenya’s territorial claims in a maritime border dispute with Somalia, in a ruling that may inflame tensions between the nations eyeing the area’s oil and gas reserves.
The ruling read by Judge Joan Donoghue on Tuesday was largely in favor of Somalia, with the Hague-based court saying that there isn’t a boundary agreement between the nations as earlier claimed by Kenya.
Kenya rejected the judgment, President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a statement following the ruling. The nation’s foreign ministry had on Oct 8 signaled it wouldn’t accept a ruling by the court because it had withdrawn its recognition of the institution’s compulsory jurisdiction. It warned that whatever the outcome, the ruling will have “profound” security and economic ramifications in the region.
“The decision embodies a perpetuation of the ICJ’s jurisdictional overreach,” according to the statement. Kenyatta said the ruling will strain relations between the countries and urged the international community to pursue a negotiated settlement.
The controversial case opened in 2014 when Somalia challenged a 2009 accord that set its Indian Ocean maritime border along latitudinal lines, with Kenya claiming ownership of a 150,000 square-kilometer zone potentially rich in hydrocarbons and fish. International energy companies including Anadarko Petroleum Corp, TotalEnergies SE and Eni SpA have shown interest in exploring in the area.