Suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia should be prosecuted under the supervision of the United Nations, according to a letter sent by Turkey to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and made public here on Wednesday.Nice idea,though it shows a degree of faith in the UN that I personally don't see much justification for.
In the letter, Turkey's permanent representative to the UN, Ertugrul Apakan, suggested the formation of a judicial system to punish perpetrators and deter potential pirates from a life of criminality.
"Turkey believes that it would be useful if a mechanism is put in place in one of the countries of the region, under the supervision of the United Nations, to effectively prosecute persons suspected of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia," said Apakan.
Currently, no clear legal regime exists to hold pirates off the coast of Somalia accountable. Normally, under the United Nations' Law of the Sea Treaty, Somalia would try its citizens. But Somalia never ratified the treaty, and is largely deemed a lawless nation without a viable government.
To make do, countries like the United States and Britain have signed Memorandums of Understanding with the Kenyan court system to try suspected pirates in a kind of Hague international tribune.
But without a clear international legal framework, many countries, like Turkey, are calling for the United Nations to coordinate a comprehensive judicial mechanism.
"Suspected pirates?" Unless and until it's an international crime to sail in international waters with rifles (which is currently is not), RPGs and ladders "suspects" are all you are going to have unless you catch pirates boarding or occupying a ship. "Catch and release" is a bad choice, but it may be the best choice currently available.