[JURIST] A US government official said Wednesday that at least five accused Somali pirates [JURIST news archive] will face charges in the US [AP report], according to the Associated Press. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity while the transfers are pending, said that the accused will arrive in Norfolk, Virginia, by the end of this week. Although Kenyan courts are no longer willing to prosecute [JURIST report] piracy cases, the source claims that not all 21 of those recently arrested in piracy incidents will face charges in the US. US State Department [official website] spokesperson Philip Crowley told reporters [daily press briefing] Wednesday, "I would not deny that we have plans to bring pirates who are responsible for attacks against our vessels back to the United States." Crowley added that, "Kenya is reaching a capacity problem – challenge. So this is where all countries have to step up just as we are doing and take responsibility for pirates who have attacked their ships and prosecute them to the fullest extent of national law."
In January, the International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau (IMB) [official website] reported that 2009 marked the worst year for maritime piracy [JURIST report] in six years. The information indicated that the total reported incidents of piracy reached 406, surpassing 400 for the first time since 2003. Earlier that month, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York filed a superseding indictment [JURIST report] against alleged Somali pirate Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse, claiming that he led the takeover of two additional ships. Muse pleaded not guilty to the charges. In November, Somali judge Mohamed Abdi Aware, known for jailing suspected pirates, human traffickers, and Islamist insurgents, was shot dead [JURIST report] while leaving a mosque in the Puntland city of Bossaso.