Yemen's Ministry of Defense [official website, in Arabic] announced Tuesday that a Yemeni court has sentenced six Somali pirates [JURIST news archive] to death and six additional pirates to 10-year jail sentences for the hijacking of a Yemeni oil tanker in April 2009. The convicted pirates must collectively pay 2 million Yemen riyals in compensatory damages to the Aden Refinery [corporate website, in Arabic], which owned the tanker. The refinery will be required to give a portion of the damages to the families of the two Yemeni crewman killed in the hijacking. Defense lawyers have appealed the verdict.
The international community is supporting actions taken against piracy. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) [office website] announced on Wednesday that the island nation of Seychelles will create a UN-supported center [JURIST report] to prosecute suspected pirates. The center will accept and try pirates captured by the European Union Naval Force Somalia (EU NAVFOR) [official website] off the coast of Somalia and surrounding areas. This will be the second such court established for the prosecution of pirates, following only Kenya. Last month, the UN Security Council approved a resolution [JURIST report] calling on member states to criminalize piracy under their domestic laws and urging Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] to consider an international tribunal for prosecuting piracy. The Security Council resolution came the same week the UN announced that a trust fund established to combat piracy will be funding five projects [UN News Centre report] aimed at piracy committed in the waters around Somalia.