Piracy is trending down, due to a combination of more effective international counter piracy efforts, widespread use of anti-piracy measures by shipping firms and due to changing conditions on the ground in Somalia. All of these are good things. Add one more to the pile, because it just became a little easier for international forces to take pirates captured at sea to trial in nearby Kenya:
Kenya’s Court of Appeal says the country’s courts have jurisdiction to try Somali pirates caught on international waters.
In 2010, the High Court ruled that Kenyan courts can only deal with offenses that take place within the territorial jurisdiction of the country.
On Thursday The Court of Appeal said universal jurisdiction allowed all states to prosecute pirates despite location of the offense and nationality of perpetrators. The judges say piracy off the coast of Somalia has affected economies of many nations, including Kenya, and they must ensure criminals have no safe haven.
The international community has depended on countries like Kenya and the Seychelles to prosecute pirates who attack off East Africa. Somalia has been in conflict for two decades, and piracy is one of few opportunities to make money.
One of the biggest hurdle to CP efforts has been the lack of countries willing to prosecute pirates – hopefully Kenya will take this ruling and open the prosecutions back up (and hopefully the international community will realize that trying/imprisoning pirates isn’t cheap and send reimbursement their way).