News / Africa

UN Piracy Chief: More Countries Should Help Kenya Try Pirates

The United Nations Secretary General's special advisor on piracy legal issues Jack Lang, from France, right, listens to an unidentified suspected Somali pirate, on remand, at the Shimo la Tewa GK Prison in Mombasa, Kenya, 11 Oct 2010
The United Nations Secretary General's special advisor on piracy legal issues Jack Lang, from France, right, listens to an unidentified suspected Somali pirate, on remand, at the Shimo la Tewa GK Prison in Mombasa, Kenya, 11 Oct 2010

Multimedia

Audio
Michael Onyiego

With piracy on the rise off the east-African coast, a top U.N. advisor has called for the international community to ease the burden placed on Kenya to try and jail convicted hijackers.  The statement comes just weeks after Kenya announced its international agreements to detain Somali pirates had expired.

During a brief stop in Nairobi, the U.N. secretary general's special adviser on piracy issues, Jack Lang, weighed in Tuesday on Kenya's reluctance to try any more piracy suspects captured in the Indian Ocean.  Lang told reporters that Kenya has provided an example in dealing with the growing problem of piracy, and urged the international community to provide better support to the east African nation.

The Special Adviser's stop was part of a three-month tour begun in August to investigate new ways to deal with the increasing numbers of hijackers launching from the Somali coast.

Kenya, along with the Seychelles, is the only country in east Africa that has agreed to prosecute pirates captured in the Indian Ocean by international patrols.  Kenya has signed agreements with the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, European Union, Denmark and China to try suspected pirates in return for support, but the country increasingly complained it is facing the burden alone.

The move to hold Somali pirates also has been unpopular among Kenya's politicians, who argue the agreements placed excessive costs and security risks squarely on Kenya's shoulders.

The Director of the Seafarer's Assistance Program in East Africa, Andrew Mwangura, said the agreements diverted resources from Kenya's already strained court system.  "In Mombasa Courts we have got only 11 court prosecutors," said Mwangura.  "And these prosecutors have to carry other cases, like murder cases, robbery crime and domestic violence.  Apart from that, Kenya has got a backlog of about 185,000 cases countrywide.  And also, there is parliament, because they are using taxpayer's money to keep these people in our prisons."

On September 30th, the Kenyan government announced the agreements to try pirates had expired and it would no longer accept pirates.  Western countries have been negotiating with Kenya to renew the deal, but officials have not specified publicly what Kenya needs to receive to continue trying suspects.

Since 2009, Kenya has convicted an estimated 43 pirates and holds about 100 more.  Despite the expiration of the agreements, Kenya has continued to take on pirates captured in the past two weeks.

The United States Navy transferred nine Somali's into Kenyan custody Tuesday after capturing them last month in the Gulf of Aden.

In Nairobi, Lang called for new ideas to deal with the issue of piracy, and he called on new partners to detain and prosecute suspected pirates.

The Special Adviser is visiting the region amidst a rise in hijackings in recent weeks.  On Sunday, Somali pirates hijacked a Japanese cargo ship off the coast of Kenya along with 20 members of the crew.  At least 61 sailors have been captured by Somali pirates since the last week of September.

Somalia has not had a functioning government for more than 20 years.  Lang said any solution to the piracy problem would have to involve a commitment to stability in Somalia.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
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 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 US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of 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 Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
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.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs