Six international lawyers representing Kenya at the International Court of Justice over Indian Ocean maritime dispute with Somalia were sacked on Tuesday.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, through Attorney General Kihara Kariuki, requested the ICJ to postpone the crucial hearing scheduled on September 13th as a new defense team is being recruited.
The two nations are involved in a maritime crisis, with Kenya accusing Somalia of auctioning oil deposits without her consent in April this year.
“Due to exceptional circumstances, occasioned by the need to recruit a new defence team, Kenya has sought to have the matter postponed,” Attorney General Kihara Kariuki said in a statement.
Under Article 54 of the Rules of the Court, parties to a case may request the bench to alter the date fixed by the Court, “should occasion arise” to either delay the public oral sessions or stop those already going on until a later date.
The six lawyers have been battling it out to save Kenya from losing several kilometers of the ocean, a move that could impair her military and economic operations.
They included Prof Payam Akhavan from the US, Prof Vaughan Lowe QC from the UK, Prof Alan Boyle (British), Prof Mathias Forteau (French), Mr Karim Khan (British) and Ms Amy Sanders (British).
Last week, the diplomatic row between Kenya and Somalia deteriorated with the latter blocking attempts of the former to have Al Shabaab blacklisted as a terrorist group.
“That we have failed to get one additional sanction regime will not deter us from remaining focused on our goal which is to eliminate terror in our country and in the world at large. God willing,” Macharia Kamau, the Kenyan Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary said.
Already, reports from Somalia indicate that Kenya’s latest move has been rejected by Mogadishu, an indication that the battle is far from over.