Statement By H.E. Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, The International Court Of Justice Judgement In Maritime Delimitation Case

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STATEMENT BY H.E. HON. UHURU KENYATTA, CGH,
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA AND
COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE FORCES
ON THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE
JUDGEMENT IN MARITIME DELIMITATION CASE

Today, 12 th October, 2021, the International Court of
Justice (the ICJ), delivered its decision in the Maritime
Delimitation in the Indian Ocean Case (Somalia –
Kenya). While Kenya is not surprised at the decision, it
is profoundly concerned by the import of the decision
and its implications for the Horn of Africa region, and
international law generally. At the outset, Kenya wishes
to indicate that it rejects in totality and does not
recognize the findings in the decision.

The decision embodies a perpetuation of the ICJ’s
jurisdictional overreach and raises a fundamental
question on the respect of the sovereignty and
consent of States to international judicial processes.
International tribunals have jurisdiction ONLY to the
extent of CONSENT by a State.

Kenya, as an avid supporter of the rule of law, accepted
the Court’s jurisdiction through a declaration in 1965,
with an objectively clear outline of certain excluded
matters. At the time, Kenya never imagined that the ICJ
would violate the declaration to the extent of

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imposing its mandate over expressly excluded
matters.
In an unfortunate development over the last decade, a
trend has emerged of some supposedly international
organizations, being deployed as political tools against
African countries. Sadly, this misfeasance has infected
the ICJ, leading it to impose jurisdiction on a dispute it
had neither jurisdiction nor competence. In addition, the
Court did not permit the use, let alone the exhaustion,
of regional dispute resolution mechanisms, despite the
existence of a robust African Union legal framework on
border issues and dispute settlement.

Even with these flaws, Kenya participated in the initial
proceedings out of its traditional respect for the rule of
law, if ONLY to make its case that the Court had
neither jurisdiction nor competence over the dispute.
However, the Court decided, in an inexplicable decision
delivered on 2 nd February, 2017, that it would hear
and determine the dispute, despite the founded
objections. This decision was clearly erroneous.

Faced by the above substantive and a persistent
procedural unfairness from a biased Bench; and the
denial of the right to a fair hearing, Kenya was forced to
withdraw its participation in the public hearings on 14 th
March, 2021. In fact, Kenya doubts that any State
would have appeared at all in a case such as this.

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Further, based on the ICJ’s improprieties, and to avert
the risk of another imposed jurisdiction, Kenya, on the
24 th September, 2021, withdrew its recognition of the
compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ 1 , and will only
reconsider this withdrawal when pragmatic reforms are
instituted in the administration of international justice 2 .

Kenya, therefore, calls on the international community
to create an enabling environment for the pursuit of a
negotiated settlement. Kenya and Somalia are
neighboring States, with a common border, and
communities with shared social, cultural and religious
practices. This decision is, in the circumstances, a zero-
sum game, which will strain the relations between the
two countries. It will also reverse the social, political and
economic gains; and potentially aggravate the peace
and security situation in the fragile Horn of Africa
Region.

Kenya, like other independent Countries, possesses a
determined geographical territory. As a devoted
member of the United Nations, the United Nations
Security Council as well as the African Union’s Peace
and Security Council, we beseech the rest of the family
of Nations to appreciate and respect our inherent right
to protect, by all available means, our territory.

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Nonetheless, Kenya is committed to a diplomatic
solution of the current impasse. In this regard, Kenya,
as a key proponent of respect for the principle of
subsidiarity as a catalyst for African Solutions for
African Problems, will resolve this matter through the
institutions of the African Union such as the African
Union Border Programme and its Peace and Security,
architecture, in addition to other bilateral arrangements.

Fellow Kenyans, when I became President on 9 th April
2013, I took an oath to protect the territorial integrity of
the Republic of Kenya. I do not intend to abrogate my
solemn oath; and, I will do everything possible as
President and Commander-in-Chief, to preserve the
territory of this our great Republic and bequeath the
same, intact and unencumbered, to the next
President when my term expires in less than a year’s
time.

As your President, I want to assure you of my
commitment to solve this issue amicably and urge you
all to remain calm as my Government remains fully
seized of the matter.

GOD BLESS YOU ALL. GOD BLESS KENYA.

–ENDS–

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