The International Court of Justice has largely ruled in favor of Somalia in its long-running dispute with Kenya over their maritime borders.
Kenya has previously accused the International Court of Justice of bias, and said it would not accept the ruling.
The case concerns a 100,000 square kilometer triangle in the Indian Ocean, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas.
This dispute is at the heart of the diplomatic row between the two neighbors.
In a tweet on Twitter, the Somali Information Minister, Osman Doob, welcomed the ruling and congratulated the Somalis on reclaiming their region.
Over the past four decades, Kenya has wanted to demarcate the maritime boundary between the two countries in a straight line to the east, giving it more maritime space, while Somalia has argued in court that the maritime boundary in the Indian Ocean should run in the same direction as the land boundary.
The bench, which includes 14 judges, said in The Hague that Kenya had not demonstrated that Somalia had previously agreed to its alleged borders.
Instead, the judges drew a new line dividing the disputed area in two.
But with Kenya refusing to recognize the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice, it is now unclear what will happen. The court has no means to enforce its rulings.
Somalia also said that Kenya violated its sovereignty by operating in its territorial waters, and demanded compensation.
But the judges rejected this argument.
In 2009, the two countries agreed in a Memorandum of Understanding, with UN support, to settle the border dispute through negotiations.
But five years later, Somalia declared the talks a failure and went to the International Court of Justice instead.
Reuters reported that Somalia was angered by Kenya’s sale of exploration licenses in the disputed area to two international companies in 2012.
Somalia’s deputy prime minister, Mahdi Mohamed Guled, told the BBC before the verdict was pronounced that his country “believes in the rules-based system… that is why we have come to court”.
The Court is supposed to have the final say in inter-state disputes.
If Kenya ignores the ruling, the case could be taken to the UN Security Council, says the BBC’s Anna Hooligan from The Hague.
Kenya argued unsuccessfully that the ICJ should not interfere, as the MOU is binding.
Then, in March, she refused to participate in the hearings, after requesting an adjournment to brief a new legal team.
She also objected to the presence of a Somali judge on the bench, saying he should step down.
Last week, the Kenyan government called the case a “flawed judicial process”. She added that there was “inherent bias” and that the court was not the appropriate way to resolve the dispute.
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