The Somali government announced its rejection of any delay of the Somali-Kenya maritime dispute case at the International Criminal Court (ICJ) following request by the Kenyan government to postpone the hearing on the case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ)).
The hearing was scheduled to take place in early June, but Kenya has asked the court to postpone it for an undisclosed date.
Kenya has used the global spread of Coronavirus as an excuse, saying it has had a strong impact on the lawyers representing them in the case, saying it was impossible for them to prepare.
The Kenyan government also pointed to the financial difficulties the world is going through, due to COVID-19 as a hindrance.
In a statement, the federal government of Somalia dismissed the claims saying the court process can be conducted online.
Mogadishu further accused its neighboring of trying to solve the dispute outside the court for avoiding presence in the court through delays three times before.
“Our stand is not to delay the case one day and that is what we have told the court,” Deputy Prime Minister, Mahdi Mohamed Guled said, adding, “The process should continue via video or audio conference.”
The ICJ on September 5th, 2019, granted a Kenyan request to postpone the case, and at that time, the court pledged it would not postpone the proceedings again.
The court is expected to announce its decision in the coming days whether or not the case will be heard on its scheduled date of June 8 to 12, 2020.
Both countries claim ownership of an area, almost 150,000 square kilometers (57,915 square miles) off the Indian Ocean coastline, said to be rich with oil, gas and tuna fish.
In 2014, Somalia’s government went to court to challenge a 2009 agreement that set its maritime border along latitudinal lines extending 450 nautical miles into the Indian Ocean.