NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 7 – A conflict resolution expert has warned that any kind of ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the Kenya-Somalia maritime dispute is a risk to the region’s peace and stability.
David Matsanga, the Chairman of the Pan African Forum (PAN) said any ruling by the ICJ can easily provoke tensions in the already volatile situation between the two countries.
“PAN believes that any ruling at ICJ at any time will spark a vicious war in region where the conflict of Somalia still rages on,” Matsanga said, in a letter to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Somalia filed the boundary delimitation dispute on August 28, 2014, staking a claim on an estimated 62,000 square miles oil-rich triangle in the Indian Ocean.
‘The world cannot afford another hostile region after the Libyan Mediterranian chaos that was caused by Resolution 1970 of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC),” he told the UN boss in the letter.
Matsanga had submitted reservations on the case to the Registrar of the ICJ in November 2019, in which he raised serious complaints against the court’s president Justice Abdulqawi Yusuf.
In his latest letter, Matsanga told Guterres that there are options of getting the conflict between Kenya and Somalia resolved, as opposed to the court.
“We finally submit to you that there are other ways and mechanisms for the dispute to be resolved without subjecting to court rulings,” he said, concluding that “the entire ICJ process stinks for both Kenya and Somalia. But we believe that it stinks more for Somalia which will have to endure retracted wars without stability.”
Mogadishu’s case is premised on Article 15 of the Convention of the Law of Sea adopted in 1982, Kenya saying the disputed area was in fact under its jurisdiction before the convention was enacted.
Somalia country wants the sea border extended along the land boarder; a plea which if granted could limit Kenya’s access to high seas on its Indian Ocean shore technically rendering the country landlocked.