The US government on Tuesday handed over [press release] 15 suspected Somali pirates it captured in January to the Republic of Seychelles for prosecution. The suspects are accused of attacking a ship and kidnapping 13 Iranian fisherman, all of whom the US Navy rescued. They will be tried in Seychelles' court established in 2010 [JURIST report] to prosecute international pirates. US State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the US "appreciate[s] Seychelles' regional leadership on counter-piracy ... as well as their plans to host a regional intelligence coordination center to support future piracy prosecutions." Nuland was referring to Seychelles' plans to work with the UK to form the Regional Anti-Piracy Prosecution and Intelligence Coordination Centre [press release] in its country to help combat the piracy problem.
Although Seychelles has been a leader in the fight against maritime piracy [JURIST news archive], countries around the world have been making strides in helping to solve the problem. Italy ordered its first international piracy trial last month against nine Somali pirates, while France began its first international piracy trial [JURIST reports] in November. In October the UN Security Council adopted a resolution encouraging states to criminalize and punish piracy after maritime piracy reached an all-time high [JURIST reports] in April. The UN also donated $9.3 million [JURIST report] in 2010 to fund piracy courts in Seychelles and Kenya, the only two countries that have created such courts.