ICJ rebukes Kenya over maritime border case
Publish date: 09 September 2019
Issue Number: 840
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has postponed the Kenya-Somalia maritime dispute case following an application by the Kenyan Government, which sought time to recruit a new defence team. Kenya's request is contained in a letter from the Attorney-General's office. ICJ's registrar Philippe Gautier confirmed that the case would be postponed by 12 months. However, the court expressed ‘deep regret regarding this last-minute request which has caused undue effect on the administration of the judicial work of the court’. CapitalFM reports that David Matsanga, the chairperson of the Pan African Forum, last week filed a petition in the court seeking orders to have the presiding judge in the case, Abdulqawi Yusuf, recuse himself over alleged conflict of interest. This after the judge allegedly addressed the case outside the court. He also cited a conflict of interest because Yusuf is a Somali national. Matsanga said he was apprehensive of a 'risk of an unbalanced and a biased outcome' in the case. ‘As a Somali national, his heart falls near Somali,’ Matsanga added. Somalia filed the boundary dispute in August, 2014, seeking a claim on an oil-rich triangle in the Indian Ocean.