News / Africa

    Somalia Wants Piracy Courts on its Territory

    Suspected pirates indicate their surrender with a white cloth on the bow of the Japanese-owned commercial oil tanker MV Guanabara in the Arabian Sea (File Photo -March 6, 2011)
    Suspected pirates indicate their surrender with a white cloth on the bow of the Japanese-owned commercial oil tanker MV Guanabara in the Arabian Sea (File Photo -March 6, 2011)

    The United Nation’s top legal advisor says the Somali Transitional Federal Government is not in favor of having specialized courts in other countries try Somali piracy suspects. Patricia O’Brien told the U.N. Security Council Somalia says it prefers such a court be established in Somalia and is willing to work with the United Nations toward an agreement on a location for it.  

    The United Nations has been exploring the idea of a specialized court to handle piracy suspects for some time.  Various proposals include having the court established in Somalia or the region.

    According to a U.N. report, there are just more than 1,000 suspected pirates in detention in 20 countries.  Many of them have been convicted in courts in those countries, including Kenya, the Netherlands, the United States, Tanzania, Yemen and Oman.

    But Somalia has the largest number of detained suspected pirates in custody and is conducting large numbers of prosecutions.  O’Brien told the council that 290 cases have been concluded or are on-going in Puntland and 94 in Somaliland.

    She said it would take about three years to bring piracy trials up to international standards and cost approximately $24 million for the courts and prisons.  O’Brien said it might be done sooner if international experts assist and mentor local professionals.

    “Achieving international standards will be a critical step because it will open the way for naval states to be able to enter into arrangements with the Somali authorities for the transfer of piracy suspects apprehended at sea to Somaliland and Puntland for prosecution,” O'Brien said.

    O’Brien said a further step to opening the way for the transfer of piracy suspects to Somalia would be the building of new prisons in Somaliland and Puntland to provide a total of 1,000 prison spaces that comply with international standards.  She said this would take about two years to accomplish.

    O’Brien said the prospect of specialized piracy courts outside Somalia was discussed with the Transitional Federal Government and regional authorities, as well as with some neighbors.

    “In the most recent consultations, officials of the Transitional Federal Government, and of Puntland and Galmadug expressed their preference for the location of any such court within Somalia, and confirmed their willingness to work toward agreement on a location for it,” O'brien said.

    Among regional countries consulted as potential host states for an extra-territorial Somali court were Tanzania, which currently hosts the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda; the Seychelles, and Mauritius.

    O’Brien said Tanzania expressed serious concerns about security if it shared the Rwandan court’s premises with the piracy court, concerns the United Nations shares.

    Seychelles’ government said more discussions would be needed before it could reply to the Security Council, while Mauritius was receptive to the idea, but faced too many capacity constraints and other practical difficulties to make it possible.

    Several council members said it would be wrong to disregard Somalia’s view about a court outside its territory.  They noted the challenges and difficulties that would be faced in setting up such an extra-territorial court and supported assisting Somali courts and building domestic prison capacity.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora