Seychelles announces creation of UN-backed piracy court

[JURIST] The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) [office website] announced [press release] on Wednesday that the island nation of Seychelles will create a UN-supported center to prosecute suspected pirates. The center will accept and try pirates captured by the European Union Naval Force Somalia (EU NAVFOR) [official website] off the coast of Somalia and surrounding areas. This will be the second such court established for the prosecution of pirates, following only Kenya. Seychelles has received international support for its actions against piracy through the joint UN, EU Counter-Piracy Program [text, PDF]. The program has also assisted the country in preparing to hold piracy trials. In March, Seychelles began the trial [AFP report] of 11 accused pirates captured last year after amending its criminal code to resemble international standards.

The international community is supporting actions taken against piracy. Last month, the UN Security Council approved a resolution [JURIST report] calling on member states to criminalize piracy under their domestic laws and urging Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] to consider an international tribunal for prosecuting piracy. The Security Council resolution came the same week the UN announced that a trust fund established to combat piracy will be funding five projects [UN News Centre report] aimed at piracy committed in the waters around Somalia. The US is also involved in the prosecution of pirates. Earlier this month, nine Somali men accused of piracy and other charges by federal prosecutors pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] at their arraignment. Trials for the accused pirates are scheduled for July [AP report] but may be delayed until September.

 

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