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Suspected Somalia pirates captured by UK charged in Kenya

[JURIST] Eight Somalis were charged in a Kenyan court [Kenya judiciary website] for piracy on Wednesday after being turned over to Kenyan officials by the British Royal Navy [official website]. The suspected pirates were captured by the HMS Cumberland [official website] while attempting to use a hijacked Yemeni fishing boat to attack a Danish vessel on November 11 and then handed over [press release] to Kenyan police Tuesday. This marks the second time suspected Somali pirates captured by a third party have been prosecuted in Kenyan courts. In January 2006, the US Navy [official website] captured 10 Somali men 200 miles off the coast of Somalia and turned them over to Kenyan courts in Mombasa for prosecution [press release]. In November 2006, each of the 10 men were sentenced to seven years in prison. AFP has more. KBC News has local coverage.

In June, the UN Security Council [official website] unanimously approved Resolution 1838 [text, PDF; press release], condemning all acts of piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia, and calling on states to "deploy naval vessels and military aircraft to actively fight piracy on the high seas off the coast of Somalia." The resolution fills a gap in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) [text, PDF; materials], which defines piracy as "all illegal acts of violence or detention ... committed for private ends on the high seas," and does not apply to such action in the territorial waters of states. Although maritime piracy is increasingly widespread, Somalia's coast has been ranked as the most dangerous in the world [BBC report] due to a surge in attacks on ships carrying traded goods or humanitarian aid [NPR report]. Somalia has not had an effective government for 17 years. It was recently ranked as one of the world's most corrupt countries [JURIST report] and its transitional government has only a tenuous hold over the country's capital. In October 2007 the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) [advocacy website], which tracks incidents of maritime piracy worldwide [IMP materials], reported [press release] that incidents of piracy and armed attacks against ships off the Somalian and Nigerian coasts have risen 14% from 2006.

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