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ICJ considers changing court schedule

Kenya-Somalia maritime border dispute

Map showing disputed maritime area

Somalia on Tuesday continued the second day of ICJ hearings on the disputed maritime border with Kenya, insisting the demarcation should be based on a straight line. Kenya dropped out of the hearings, citing bias by the court. Somali lawyers said the straight line divides the sea between Somalia and Kenya fairly, VOA Somalia reported. Before closing the hearing, the judge said Kenya had written a letter to the ICJ, which is being debated. The judge said there could be a change in the court schedule. The dispute concerns a 160,000 sq km triangle in the Indian Ocean.

The area is thought to be rich in oil and gas. Kenya had asked for the case to be delayed while it briefed a new legal team, and also cited the coronavirus pandemic, but the ICJ ruled the case should be heard virtually. Kenya also objects to the presence on the ICJ panel of a Somali judge, saying he should recuse himself. Somalia brought the case in 2014, saying the maritime frontier should follow on in the same direction as the land border, while Kenya argues that it has always been taken in a horizontal line from the point where the two countries meet at the coast. – the-star.co.ke