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Group seeks to bar Kenya from Somalia dispute

Saturday October 19 2019

Kenya-Somalia maritime border dispute

The area in the Kenya-Somalia maritime border dispute forms a triangle east of the Kenya coast. GRAPHIC | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

SAM KIPLAGAT
By SAM KIPLAGAT
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Twenty Kenyans have urged the High Court to compel the government to withdraw from a border dispute filed by Somalia before the International Court of Justice, arguing that the decision to participate in the suit was wrong.

Through lawyer Kibe Mungai, the petitioners said Thursday there is a risk of forfeiting part of Kenya’s territory, if the ICJ, rules in favour of Somalia because the country has to abide by the decision. He said the government should put its national interest first and the only way to do that is not seeking to compromise its territorial integrity.

But the government through lawyer Paul Nyamodi told justices Kanyi Kimondo, Robert Limo and Anthony Mrima that the petition is based on an assumption that The Hague-based court will rule in favour of Somalia.

He said Kenya has taken steps calculated at ensuring the best interest of its citizens, territorial integrity and independence, is not compromised. Mr Nyamodi added that the petitioners have not shown any filing before the ICJ, which is unconstitutional.

“Kenya will participate responsibly before the ICJ. The petition is not merited because it invites the court to agree with the assumptions of the petitioners,” he argued.

But Mr Mungai said sustaining the case at ICJ offends the Constitution and could lead to the alteration of Kenya’s territory without a referendum.

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The judges will rule on the matter on November 7.