News / Africa

Group Envisions Legal Plan to Prosecute Somali Pirates

Map of SomaliaMap of Somalia
x
Map of Somalia
Map of Somalia
— An international contact group on Somali piracy is developing the foundations for a legal framework so pirates can be prosecuted, convicted and serve their sentences in Somalia.
 
The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia is developing a regional prosecution model for Somali pirates that are captured at sea. The legal framework also will include guidelines for the future Somali police and Coast Guard on arresting pirates in international waters.
 
John Steed of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia said there are many challenges, as Somalia is a recovering state.
 
“Somalia doesn’t have the legal framework that the international community would recognize, so most of the prosecutions take place in countries like the Seychelles and Kenya and elsewhere in the region,” said Steed.

The Contact Group, established in 2009, includes more than 80 countries and international organizations such as the African Union, Arab League, European Union, and NATO.  The group's primary goals are to end piracy of the coast of Somalia and to ensure that pirates are brought to justice.

Members meet twice a year in plenary session, but working groups meet regularly in different countries to develop and implement their policies and programs.

There currently are more than 1,200 Somali pirates who have been taken into custody and detained in 21 countries. Prisons have been built in different Somali regions, but overall capacity is still low, and prosecutions against accused pirates in Somalia are rare.
 
James Hughes of Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the ultimate goal is to have Somali pirates serve their sentences in their own country.
 
“In the shorter term those convicted in regional states can be returned to Somalia to serve their sentences in Somali prisons. And in the longer term of course, is to develop court and prison capacity in Somalia so that the Somali administration can bring those convicted of piracy to justice at home," said Hughes. "Obviously this will not happen overnight, this is a long-term process.”

Pirate attacks off Somalia have dropped sharply in the past couple of years, as international navies patrol the coast and more ship owners install armed guards aboard their vessels.

The Contact Group said that piracy in the Gulf of Aden and nearby waters, however, is an ongoing and serious treat to the safe delivery of humanitarian aid to Somalia, and to the safety of commercial maritime routes and to fishing activities.
 
According to the International Maritime Bureau, 75 ships were attacked off Somalia during 2012, and 14 were hijacked.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Traveler from: Worldwide
March 20, 2013 2:27 PM
While the idea seems to be logical and viable...it would not work very well. The reason these pirate criminals are from Somali is because there is no central governing rule of law - nor justice system to mandate; carry out punishment; and secure incarceration practices. These so called "pirates" are not acting by their own capacity - but rather they are being directed by other players who have money and information to run this type of criminal operation. While many outsiders see them as rogue operators like the pirates of centuries ago, - they are not!

These criminals are no different than workers of the drug cartels in Central and South America. There is a deep rooted criminal network with plenty of funding to pay bribes in order to get these operators out of jail and back to work. The best way to start ending this commercially-plaguing and life-threatening problem requires swift justice within the International waters. Just as there is a military court for dealing with espionage at sea - so there should be a court for piracy.

The admiral or captain of each ship should have international authority to hand down decisions pertaining to each case...be it death by execution or that of a less severe punishment. And if by incarceration, then this should be done with law accordingly with whatever country where the admiral or captain has been licensed from. The interesting thing about the act of piracy is that there is no option for a "not guilty" plea - considering the fact that when a pirate forces his way on board the ship with a weapon, he has but one thing in mind...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid