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Friday, October 24, 2008

Somali Pirates: NATO has Rules of Engagement

Reported here:
NATO warships are in place off the Somali coast to tackle rampant piracy in the waters and are ready to escort UN aid vessels under threat, a spokesman for the alliance's naval command said.
"The boats are in the area. They have started their deterrent role," a spokesman at NATO's naval command in Naples, Italy said by telephone, adding that the three vessels "would escort UN ships on request".
The ships - an Italian destroyer and British and Greek frigates which form NATO's operation Allied Provider - "may use force" under their rules of engagement and in line with international law, a statement said.
This might get interesting. The NATO ships are apparently only escorting World Food Program shipping.

Puntland, in the meantime, is reported to be setting up some sort of system for trying captured pirates, as set out here:
The Ports and Sea transportations deputy minister of the semiautonomous Somali region of Puntland, Abdulkadeer Muse Yusuf, has revealed on Friday to APA that his administration is arranging the establishment, in the coming days, of a new tribunal for the captured buccaneers.

Puntland’s Abdulkadeer Muse Yusuf told APA in an exclusive interview that his administration will take to court the 23 pirates who have recently been captured in different anti-piracy operations and will be tried in accordance with the Islamic law.

“Four of the captured pirates are now on their way to the shore and we will then establish a special tribunal system for them. Their trial must be different from other people’s because they have committed a big crime,” the deputy minister said.

Local elders, religious men, business people and representatives from all strata of the population will take part in the hearing of the pirates because their case is a very serious one,” the deputy minister said on Friday morning.

According to Abdulkadeer Muse Yusuf, this move is meant to pave the way for a new strategy to fight piracy with help from representatives of all communities.

Muse Yusuf said the new system to handle the case of buccaneers will involve representatives from all communities.

“Tribalism is a big problem in Somalia. And whenever somebody is sentenced because of a crime, the person’s clan can show its dissatisfaction with the court’s judgement. The new system will avoid such allegations in the future. We hope everyone will be conten,” he added.

On Thursday, the French navy has handed over nine Somali pirates to the authorities of Puntland, a regional administration in north-eastern Somalia.

Of course, last time Puntland had some pirates to try, not much happened.

UPDATE: Info on French capture of the 9 pirates here.

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