By John Ikani
The United Nations’ top court has awarded Somalia control of most of a potentially oil and gas-rich chunk of the Indian Ocean, after a bitter legal battle with neighbouring Kenya over their sea border.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled on Tuesday that there was “no agreed maritime boundary” and drew a new border close to the one claimed by Somalia, although Kenya kept a part of the 100,000 square-kilometre (39,000-square-mile) area, Chief Judge Joan Donoghue said.
The ruling is legally binding, though the court has no enforcement powers.
The court rejected Kenya’s claim of the maritime boundary it sought, saying Kenya had not consistently maintained it.
Somalia brought the case in 2014 after negotiations to resolve the dispute failed.
On Friday, Kenya withdrew from the automatic jurisdiction of the court after boycotting its hearings in March.
Each side has accused the other of an illegal grab for resources.