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Dr David Matsanga is the Chairman of Pan African Forum. He is a Political Scientist and International Conflict Resolution Expert.

Africa

Matsanga writes to UN Secretary General seeking deferment of ICJ ruling on Kenya-Somalia maritime case

NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 7 – A conflict resolution expert has written to the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres urging him to intervene and have an upcoming ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the Kenya-Somalia maritime dispute case deferred.

The ruling is due out on October 12.

In his letter, David Matsanga, the Chairman of the Pan African Forum (PAF) has warned that any kind of ruling by ICJ is a risk to the region’s peace and stability.

He said the UN should intervene and have the ruling suspended, because any ruling by the ICJ can easily provoke tensions in the already volatile situation between the two countries and the region.

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.

“As the custodian of Peace worldwide we would like to draw your attention to one matter that could disrupt Peace in the Region and also disrupt international peace in the Indian Ocean,” Matsanga writes in the letter dated October 7, “We have followed the pattern of events in the region for almost 4 years. The truth is that since the President Mohamed Farmajo came to power things in Somalia have moved from bad to worse.”

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 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.

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Writing as a “Non-State Actor,” Matsanga said “It is because we can’t file any application in in the ICJ court or voice our concerns directly in that court as Amicus Curiae. The only route left is through the UN Secretary General as the direct EMPLOYER of ICJ. We have huge misgivings about the current of Somalia/ Kenya in the ICJ.

Matsanga had written to the ICJ in November 2019 raising serious complaints against the then President of the ICJ Judge Dr. Abdulqawi Yusuf.

Matsanga said millions of Africans in East Africa and in the Horn of Africa regions “are worried about the Kenya/Somalia case at ICJ hence the need to defer it.

“Mr. Secretary General we believe that any ruling at ICJ at any time about the maritime border dispute will spark a vicious war in a region where the conflict of Somalia still ranges on. The world cannot afford another hostile region after the Libyan Mediterranean chaos that was caused by UN Security Council Resolution 1970 that dismembered Libya.”

He wants the UN, as a line manager of the ICJ, should urgently intervene by notifying the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) about the looming war in the region should the court start discussing or deliberating on the matter.

“It would be prudent for the UNSC to stop the proceedings in order to give Kenya and Somalia time to seek out of court settlement under the AU constitutive arrangements of resolving the disputes regarding boundaries,” he said, citing Article 39 which states that “The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.”

He also drew the UN Secretary General’s attention to Article 40 which states that “In order to prevent an aggravation of the situation, the Security Council may, before making the recommendations or deciding upon the measures provided for in Article 39, call upon the parties concerned to comply with such provisional measures as it deems necessary or desirable. Such provisional measures shall be without prejudice to the rights, claims, or position of the parties concerned. The Security Council shall duly take account of failure to comply with such provisional measures.”

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