News reports say one of the four pirates will be brought to the United States to face charges. Nineteen-year-old Abdulwali Muse is believed to have helped hold Captain Phillips hostage.VOA English to Africa reporter Kim Lewis spoke with Mark Ellis, executive director of the International Bar Association in London and asked him what charges could be brought.
He said, "The charges really come under the act of piracy and subsequent acts of the pirates themselves in the sense of the idea of idea of murder, the idea of taking one hostage. There's an array of charges that could be charged against him and we haven't seen full indictment yet. There's no question the charges will be long, I think, and quite serious."
He said mitigating circumstances the defense counsel might use are that the defendant was not the one in charge, that he was following orders, that he was forced into it.
Ellis said the charge takes in the concept of universal jurisdiction, which in turn takes into account the concept that the trial must meet international standard of universal jurisdiction.
He said transferring Muse to Kenya to be tried under universal jurisdiction, but there's a responsibility to make sure the trials are fair and meet international standards of fairness.
As for the suspect's age, Ellis said a defense of attorney might say he was manipulated into joining the pirates – and use that as a mitigating factor.