Friday, March 13, 2009

Somali Pirates: Sea of Legal Issues

European Union Says Thorny Legal Obstacles Challenge Piracy Mission:
The European Union said Thursday it's trying to navigate complicated international maritime law as it cracks down on the pirates terrorizing merchant ships off the Horn of Africa.

EU defense ministers meeting informally in Prague said thorny legal obstacles are complicating the 27-nation bloc's first naval mission.

Ivan Dvorak, defense policy chief for the Czech Republic, which holds the EU presidency, said ministers were discussing how to hand off pirates taken into custody, who should try them — and exactly what laws apply.

The EU is working to strengthen Operation Atalanta, a flotilla of EU warships patrolling the Indian Ocean and Somalia coastline.

German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung said the mission has been a success, despite the legal challenges.

"The attacks are dwindling," he told reporters, adding that the EU should push to have suspects tried before an international criminal court.
Civilization . . .

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