News / Africa

Group Envisions Legal Plan to Prosecute Somali Pirates

Map of SomaliaMap of Somalia
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

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Traveler from: Worldwide
March 20, 2013 2:27 PM
While the idea seems to be logical and 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 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.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs