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

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network 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.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs