The UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] on Thursday ruled that it had the authority to adjudicate a dispute over a stretch of water in the Indian Ocean that is potentially laden with oil and gas. Somalia asked [text, PDF] the ICJ to rule on the dispute in 2014 after negotiations with Kenya broke down over the 100,000-square mile stretch. The ICJ rejected Kenya’s claim that a 2009 agreement [text, PDF] between the two countries would deprive the court of jurisdiction over the dispute. Kenya’s Attorney General Githu Muigai [Kenyan Life profile] stated [Reuters report] “Kenya maintains the view that litigation can resolve only one aspect of a wide range of complex issues the parties must agree upon.” This decision allows the case to proceed with no date set as of yet for the trial to continue.
In September, in response to this case, Kenya stated that the ICJ had no role [JURIST report] in the oil dispute between the two countries. The proximity of Somalia and Kenya has led to numerous disputes. The continuing conflict in Somalia has led to years of unstable attempts to govern, driving thousands of people into Kenya as a result. The fleeing of Somali refugees has caused Kenya great strain. In November 2015 Amnesty International [advocacy website] urged the Kenyan Government to cease the closure [JURIST report] of the Dadaab refugee camp, which contained 240,000 Somali refugees. In April 2015 Kenya asked the UN to repatriate thousands [JURIST report] of Somali refugees from Kenya in an attempt to have international assistance in the removal of the population.