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Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Som. v. Kenya) (I.C.J.)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 March 2022

Craig D. Gaver*
Affiliation:
Craig D. Gaver is an attorney in private practice in Washington, DC, United States.

Extract

On October 12, 2021, the International Court of Justice (ICJ, or the Court) delivered its judgment in Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya). The Court established a single maritime boundary between the two states, delimiting the territorial sea, exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and continental shelf, including the continental shelf beyond 200 miles.

Type
International Legal Documents
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The American Society of International Law

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References

ENDNOTES

1 Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Som. v. Kenya), Judgment (Oct. 12, 2021), https://www.icj-cij.org/en/case/161/judgments [hereinafter Judgment].

2 See Beatrice Bonafé, Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya), 111 AJIL 725 (2017).

3 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 (Oct. 13, 2021), https://www.president.go.ke/2021/10/13/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-ca/; Kenya: Withdrawal of the Declaration under Article 36(2) of the Statute, doc. no. C.N.281.2021.TREATIES-I.4 (Sep. 24, 2021), https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/CN/2021/CN.281.2021-Eng.pdf.

4 Judgment, ¶¶ 94, 96, 32.

5 The Commission has not yet made its recommendations.

6 Judgment, ¶¶ 37–89.

7 Judgment, ¶ 52. The Court has only once recognized the existence of a tacit agreement delimiting a maritime boundary when the parties had “acknowledge[d] in a binding international agreement that a maritime boundary already exist[ed].” Maritime Dispute (Peru v. Chile), Judgment, 2014 I.C.J. Rep. 38, ¶ 90 (Jan. 27).

8 Judgment, ¶¶ 198–213.

9 Judgment, ¶¶ 90–197.

10 Judgment, ¶¶ 122–25 (citing Maritime Delimitation in the Black Sea (Rom. v. Ukr.), Judgment, 2009 I.C.J. Rep. 61, 101–103, ¶¶ 115–122 (Feb. 3), among others).

11 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, opened for signature Dec. 10, 1982, 1833 U.N.T.S. 397 (entered into force Nov. 16, 1994), art. 5 [hereinafter UNCLOS].

12 Judgment, ¶¶ 93–98.

13 Id. ¶¶ 99–118 (territorial sea), ¶¶ 142–146 (EEZ).

14 Id. ¶¶ 98, 109, 118.

15 See Separate Opinion of Judge Yusuf, ¶¶ 19–21 (“The reference to such arrangements … and the manner in which it is phrased, can only create misunderstandings); Individual Opinion of Judge Robison, ¶¶ 34–45 (“[A]lthough the Court has quite plainly interpreted that treaty, there is nothing that explains how the Court is in a position to take cognizance of this treaty.), 34–45; Individual Opinion of Judge ad hoc Guillaume, ¶¶ 10–17 (“Le Kenya et la Somalie sont liés par ces accords en tant qu'Etats successeurs. La Cour en a jugé ainsi (arrêt, paragraphe 98). Il appartenait donc à la Cour de rechercher si l'accord de 1927/1933 fixait le point de départ de la frontière maritime et le tracé de cette frontière dans tout ou partie de la mer territoriale … Dans ces conditions, la Cour se devait, me semble-t-il, d'appliquer l'accord de 1927/1933 non seulement pour la fixation du point de départ de la frontière maritime, mais encore pour le tracé de cette frontière dans la mer territoriale. Elle ne pouvait s'en dispenser.”).

16 Clive Schofield, Pieter Bekker, and Robert van de Poll, The World Court Fixes the Somalia–Kenya Maritime Boundary: Technical Considerations and Legal Consequences, 25 ASIL Insights 25 (Dec. 8, 2021), https://www.asil.org/insights/volume/25/issue/25.

17 Id.

18 Id.

19 Regional practice using parallels of latitude to define maritime boundaries, consistent conduct evincing a de facto border along the parallel of latitude, vital security interests, citizens’ equitable access to natural resources, and possibility of a cut-off effect. Judgment, ¶¶ 149–153.

20 Id. ¶ 124.

21 Declaration of Judge Xue, ¶ 14.

22 Maritime Delimitation in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean (Costa Rica v. Nicar.) and Land Boundary in the Northern Part of Isla Portillos (Costa Rica v. Nicar.), Judgment, 2018 (I) I.C.J. Rep. 139, 196–197, 156 (Feb. 2); Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary in the Atlantic Ocean (Ghana/Côte d'Ivoire), Judgment, 2017 ITLOS Rep. 4, 120, ¶ 425 (Sep. 23); Bay of Bengal Maritime Boundary Arbitration between Bangladesh and India), PCA Case No. 2010–16, Award, p. 124, ¶ 417 (July 7, 2014), https://pcacases.com/web/sendAttach/383.

23 Judgment, ¶ 164.

24 Id. ¶ 167.

25 Id. ¶ 168.

26 Separate Opinion of Judge Yusuf, ¶¶ 22–48; Individual Opinion of Judge Robison, ¶¶ 22–33; Individual Opinion of Judge Abraham, ¶¶ 11–15.

27 Judgment, ¶ 171: “[E]ven though the cut-off effect in the present case is less pronounced than in some other cases, it is still nonetheless still serious enough to warrant some adjustment.”

28 Judgment, ¶ 197; see also Separate Opinion of Judge Yusuf, ¶ 52 (The creation of and failure to address the “grey area … may create a new and unnecessary controversy” in the future.).

29 Both Land and Maritime Delimitation and Sovereignty over Islands (Gabon/Equatorial Guinea) and Guatemala's Territorial, Insular and Maritime Claim (Guatemala/Belize) are still in their intermediate stages. In Question of the Delimitation of the Continental Shelf Between Nicaragua and Colombia Beyond 200 Nautical Miles from the Nicaraguan Coast (Nicaragua v. Colombia), the Court already delimited the maritime boundary within the EEZ and continental shelf within 200 nautical miles in a 2012 judgment.

30 The author is grateful to a member of the ILM Editorial Advisory Committee for the suggestion.

31 See ILC, Report of the International Law Commission, Seventy-second session, U.N. Doc. No. A/76/10 (2021) [hereinafter ILC Report]; ILC, Sea-level rise in relation to international law: First issues paper by Bogdan Aurescu and Nilüfer Oral, Co-Chairs of the Study Group on sea-level rise in relation to international law, U.N. Doc. No. A/CN.4/740 (Feb. 28, 2020) [hereinafter First Issues Paper].

32 UNCLOS, art. 76(8)–(9).

33 Id. art. 7(2).

34 ILC Report, ¶ 78; see also David C. Caron, When law makes climate change worse, 17 Ecology L.Q. 621, 635–36 (1990).

35 ILC Report, ¶ 273; see also Study Group First Issues Paper, ¶¶ 68–80.

36 International Law and Sea Level Rise: Report of the International Law Association Committee on International Law and Sea Level Rise, 66–67 (D. Vidas, et al. eds., 2019).

37 ILC Report, ¶¶ 259–261 (reporting on the maritime delimitation practice of African states).

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