Kenya had questioned whether the court had a mandate to hear the case while the two countries were still in negotiations. Kenya sent Attorney General Githu Muigai to The Hague — where the court is located — to convince it that Somalia’s application should be thrown out.
However, Judge Ronny Abraham, president of the ICJ, ruled that Somalia could continue on its quest to claim the stretch of land in the contested area.
Kenya’s attorney general was quick to issue a statement acknowledging the ruling: “The government of Kenya recognizes the decision of the court that it has jurisdiction to delimit the maritime boundary dispute with Somalia.
“It was Kenya’s view that negotiation was the agreed procedure, and Kenya maintains the view,” it read.
The Kenyan government has said that for over 30 years it exercised uncontested jurisdiction in the maritime areas that Somalia now disputes.
It now falls on the court to decide who owns the portion of the ocean.