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Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya)

Overview of the case

On 28 August 2014, Somalia filed an Application instituting proceedings against Kenya with regard to a dispute concerning the delimitation of maritime spaces claimed by both States in the Indian Ocean. In its Application, Somalia requested the Court “to determine, on the basis of international law, the complete course of the single maritime boundary dividing all the maritime areas appertaining to Somalia and to Kenya in the Indian Ocean, including the continental shelf beyond 200 [nautical miles]”.

As basis for the Court’s jurisdiction, the Applicant invoked the provisions of Article 36, paragraph 2, of the Statute, and referred to the declarations recognizing the Court’s jurisdiction as compulsory made under those provisions by Somalia on 11 April 1963 and by Kenya on 19 April 1965. In addition, Somalia submitted that “the jurisdiction of the Court under Article 36, paragraph 2, of its Statute [was] underscored by article 282 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea”, which both parties ratified in 1989.

On 7 October 2015, Kenya raised preliminary objections to the jurisdiction of the Court and the admissibility of the Application.

On 2 February 2017, the Court rendered its Judgment on the preliminary objections raised by Kenya. After it rejected those objections, the Court found that “it ha[d] jurisdiction to entertain the application filed by . . . Somalia on 28 August 2014 and that the application [was] admissible”.

Public hearings on the merits of the case, initially scheduled to be held from 9 to 13 September 2019, were successively postponed to November 2019, June 2020 and March 2021, following requests for postponements made by Kenya. The hearings were held in a hybrid format between 15 and 18 March 2021, with the participation of the delegation of Somalia. Kenya did not participate in those hearings.

The Court delivered its Judgment on the merits of the case on 12 October 2021 by which it determined the maritime boundary between Somalia and Kenya. It found that “there is no agreed maritime boundary between . . . Somalia and . . . Kenya that follows the parallel of latitude described in paragraph 35 [of the Judgment]”. The Court decided that “the starting-point of the single maritime boundary delimiting the respective maritime areas between . . . Somalia and . . . Kenya is the intersection of the straight line extending from the final permanent boundary beacon (PB 29) at right angles to the general direction of the coast with the low‑water line, at the point with co‑ordinates 1° 39' 44.0" S and 41° 33' 34.4" E (WGS 84)” and that “from the starting-point, the maritime boundary in the territorial sea follows the median line described at paragraph 117 [of the Judgment] until it reaches the 12‑nautical‑mile limit at the point with co-ordinates 1° 47' 39.1" S and 41° 43' 46.8" E (WGS 84) (Point A)”. It then decided that “from the end of the boundary in the territorial sea (Point A), the single maritime boundary delimiting the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf up to 200 nautical miles between . . . Somalia and . . . Kenya follows the geodetic line starting with azimuth 114° until it reaches the 200‑nautical‑mile limit measured from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea of . . . Kenya is measured, at the point with co‑ordinates 3° 4' 21.3" S and 44° 35' 30.7" E (WGS 84) (Point B)” and that “from Point B, the maritime boundary delimiting the continental shelf continues along the same geodetic line until it reaches the outer limits of the continental shelf or the area where the rights of third States may be affected”. In its Judgment, the Court rejected the claim made by Somalia, alleging that Kenya, by its conduct in the disputed area, had violated its international obligations.


This overview is provided for information only and in no way involves the responsibility of the Court.

Institution of proceedings

Written proceedings

Oral proceedings

Verbatim record 2016/10

Public sitting held on Monday 19 September 2016, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Abraham presiding, in the case concerning Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya) - Preliminary Objections
Procedure(s): Preliminary objections
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2016/11

Public sitting held on Tuesday 20 September 2016, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Abraham presiding, in the case concerning Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya) - Preliminary Objections
Procedure(s): Preliminary objections
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2016/12

Public sitting held on Wednesday 21 September 2016, at 4.30 p.m., at the Peace Palace, President Abraham presiding, in the case concerning Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya) - Preliminary Objections
Procedure(s): Preliminary objections
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2016/13

Public sitting held on Friday 23 September 2016, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Abraham presiding, in the case concerning Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya) - Preliminary Objections
Procedure(s): Preliminary objections
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2021/2

Public sitting held on Monday 15 March 2021, at 3 p.m., at the Peace Palace, President Donoghue presiding, in the case concerning Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya)
Available in:
Original Language

Verbatim record 2021/3

Public sitting held on Tuesday 16 March 2021, at 3 p.m., at the Peace Palace, President Donoghue presiding, in the case concerning Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya)
Available in:
Original Language

Verbatim record 2021/4

Public sitting held on Thursday 18 March 2021, at 3 p.m., at the Peace Palace, President Donoghue presiding, in the case concerning Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya)
Available in:
Original Language

Other documents

Orders

Order of 16 October 2014

Fixing of time-limits: Memorial and Counter-Memorial
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Order of 9 October 2015

Fixing of time-limit: written statement of observations and submissions on preliminary objections
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Order of 2 February 2017

Fixing of time-limit: Counter Memorial of the Republic of Kenya
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Order of 2 February 2018

Fixing of time-limits: Reply and Rejoinder
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Judgments

Summaries of Judgments and Orders

Summary 2017/1

Summary of the Judgment of 2 February 2017
Available in:
English French

Summary 2021/3

Summary of the Judgment of 12 October 2021
Available in:
English French

Press releases

Press release 2014/27

28 August 2014
Somalia institutes proceedings against Kenya with regard to “a dispute concerning maritime delimitation in the Indian Ocean”
Available in:
English French

Press release 2014/30

17 October 2014
Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya) - Fixing of time-limits for the filing of the initial pleadings
Available in:
English French

Press release 2015/27

12 October 2015
Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya) - Fixing of time-limit for the filing by Somalia of a written statement of its observations and submissions on the preliminary objections raised by Kenya
Available in:
English French

Press release 2016/15

6 May 2016
Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya) - Preliminary Objections -The Court to hold public hearings from Monday 19 September to Friday 23 September 2016
Available in:
English French

Press release 2016/26

23 September 2016
Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya) - Conclusion of public hearings on the preliminary objections raised by the Republic of Kenya - The Court to begin its deliberation
Available in:
English French

Press release 2017/3

20 January 2017
Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya) - Preliminary Objections - The Court to deliver its Judgment on Thursday 2 February 2017
Available in:
English French

Press release 2017/5

2 February 2017
The Court finds that it may proceed with the maritime delimitation between Somalia and Kenya in the Indian Ocean
Available in:
English French

Press release 2017/9

7 February 2017
Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya) - Fixing of time-limit for the filing of Kenya's Counter-Memorial
Available in:
English French

Press release 2018/12

12 February 2018
Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya) - The Court authorizes the submission of a Reply by Somalia and a Rejoinder by Kenya and fixes the time-limits for the filing of these written pleadings
Available in:
English French

Press release 2019/29

25 June 2019
Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya) - The Court to hold public hearings from Monday 9 to Friday 13 September 2019
Available in:
English French

Press release 2019/36

6 September 2019
Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya) - The Court has decided to postpone to 4 November 2019 the public hearings due to open on 9 September 2019
Available in:
English French

Press release 2019/37

11 September 2019
Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya) - The Court to hold public hearings from Monday 4 to Friday 8 November 2019
Available in:
English French

Press release 2019/41

18 October 2019
Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya) - The Court has decided to postpone to 8 June 2020 the public hearings due to open on 4 November 2019
Available in:
English French

Press release 2020/13

22 May 2020
Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya) - Public hearings postponed until March 2021
Available in:
English French

Press release 2021/9

1 March 2021
Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya) - The Court to hold public hearings from Monday 15 March 2021
Available in:
English French

Press release 2021/11

9 March 2021
Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya) - Schedule for the public hearings to be held from Monday 15 March to Wednesday 24 March 2021
Available in:
English French

Press release 2021/12

17 March 2021
Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya) - Final submissions of Somalia to be made on Thursday 18 March 2021 at 3 p.m.
Available in:
English French

Press release 2021/13

18 March 2021
Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya) - Conclusion of the public hearings held from Monday 15 to Thursday 18 March 2021 - The Court to begin its deliberation
Available in:
English French

Press release 2021/22

24 September 2021
Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya) - The Court to deliver its Judgment on 12 October 2021 at 3 p.m.
Available in:
English French

Press release 2021/26

12 October 2021
Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya) The Court determines the course of the maritime boundary between the Federal Republic of Somalia and the Republic of Kenya
Available in:
English French

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