Transparency and Predictability in the Maritime Delimitation Process: Reverse-engineering the Somalia-Kenya Adjudicated Boundary

Publication Name

International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law


This article analyses the adjudicated boundary between Somalia and Kenya in the Indian Ocean through an integrated law-and-science approach. Using recent high-resolution satellite imagery and specialised boundary software, it seeks to 'reverse-engineer' the 12 October 2021 ruling of the International Court of Justice with a particular focus on issues of transparency and predictability. The article highlights how ambiguities in the identification of basepoints underlying an adjudicated boundary and the reliance on a relatively small-scale nautical chart based on dated surveys that does not reflect the physical reality of the relevant coast could undermine the authority of an adjudicated boundary obtained after years of legal proceedings. Addressing the issue of technical support in decision-making on adjudicated boundaries, the article proposes various means to reduce controversies regarding maritime boundary delimitation and to make the delimitation process more transparent and predictable. Keywords

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