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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid