Specialized Somali Courts for Pirates Considered

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Recognizing the need for further steps to boost anti-piracy efforts, the Security Council decided to urgently consider the establishment of specialized Somali courts to try suspected pirates both in the Somalia and in the region.

 
The Council also urged both State and non-State actors affected by piracy, most notably the international shipping community, to provide support for a host of judicial- and detention-related projects through the trust fund set up for that purpose.
 
In its unanimously adopted resolution, the 15-member Council stressed the need for “a comprehensive response to tackle piracy and its underlying causes by the international community,” as it outlined a wide array of measures to more effectively counter the scourge of piracy.
 
These include calling on States to cooperate on the issue of hostage-taking; encouraging States and regional organizations to assist Somalia in strengthening its coastguard capacity; urging all States, including those in the region, to criminalize piracy under their domestic laws; and underlining the need to investigate and prosecute those who illicitly finance, plan, organize, or unlawfully profit from pirate attacks off the Somali coast.
 
In taking today’s action, the Council was acting on the recommendations contained in a report by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Adviser on Legal Issues Related to Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, Jack Lang.
In its previous resolutions, the Council has authorized States and regional organizations to enter Somalia’s territorial waters and use “all necessary means” to fight piracy such as deploying naval vessels and military aircraft, as well as seizing and disposing of boats, vessels, arms and related equipment used for piracy.
 
In the text adopted, it recognized that the ongoing instability in Somalia is one of the underlying causes of the problem of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of the Horn of Africa nation.
 
Somalia – which has not had a functioning central government since 1991 – has been torn apart by decades of conflict and factional strife, more recently with al-Shabaab Islamic militants. The country is also facing a dire humanitarian crisis in which 2.4 million people are in need of assistance.
 
The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) currently in place has made some progress in tackling the country’s challenges but requires further support. To discuss the accomplishments, as well as the obstacles and challenges, the UN envoy for Somalia is convening a high-level consultative meting in Nairobi tomorrow on the transition process.
 
“The overall aim is to revive dialogue so that the peace process regains momentum,” Augustine P. Mahiga said in news release issued ahead of the meeting. “No peace process can move forward without dialogue.”
 
The two-day conference will also lay the ground, he said, for a follow-up meeting to take place later next month in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, as requested by the TFG, and is expected to advance talks and initiatives on peacemaking and state-building.
 
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