The United Nations Security Council is considering the establishment of special Somali courts to try pirates. The UN Security Council has finally recognized that the lack of proper courts to try pirates safely and efficiently has been a stumbling block to eliminating the piracy menace. This week, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution which also laid out a number of measures that can effectively be used to counter piracy. For instance, the recommendation is calling on states to cooperate in hostage-taking situations, and is also calling on all states to help Somalia to boost its Coast Guard capacity. Countries in the neighborhood have also been asked to criminalize piracy, and come down hard on those who plan, finance, organize and implement pirate attacks. The most important part of the resolution is the decision by the UN Security Council to consider establishing special Somali courts to try pirates. As a maritime lawyer, I believe that the failure to try pirates efficiently has been a major hindrance to eliminating the piracy menace. Somalia lacks the legal infrastructure to try pirates quickly and efficiently. Other countries in the neighborhood have also balked at taking on the prosecution of large numbers of pirates. The legal system in Somalia is stressed to the point of breaking, and with the law and order situation in that country as it is, it would be unreasonable to expect the country to do much to handle these large-scale prosecutions. The international community needs to step in, and it is encouraging that the UN Security Council is taking a firm step towards this direction.
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