With a weak federal government and a nascent maritime authority, “Somalia is not yet a country that can necessarily enforce its laws or international laws at sea,” Mr. Walker said.
Where do the two countries go from here?
The court ruling adds to a long list of challenges already testing relations between Kenya and Somalia.
Last December, Mogadishu severed diplomatic ties with Nairobi after accusing it of meddling in its internal affairs, only to restore them in May.
For its part, Kenya has deported Somali legislators and, at one point, suspended direct flights from Somalia to Nairobi.
Somalia also ended visas on arrival for Kenyan citizens and banned the importation of Kenyan khat, a mild stimulant leaf that brings millions of dollars into Kenya’s economy.
To ease future tensions, experts say the two countries could turn to the African Union or other regional bodies to try to chart a way forward, said Abdimalik Abdullahi, an independent researcher in Mogadishu.
“This can be done,” he said, “through establishing technical committees that could iron out other outstanding issues, the leaders maintaining contact and channels of communications, and avoiding any unilateral military activities in those waters.”