UN announces $9.3 million in donations to fund piracy courts News
UN announces $9.3 million in donations to fund piracy courts
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[JURIST] A spokesperson for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) piracy division [official website] announced Tuesday that donors will spend more than USD $9.3 million to fund courts in Kenya and Seychelles that prosecute suspected Somali pirates [JURIST news archive]. The Kenyan government announced in April that it would no longer accept [JURIST report] Somali pirate cases due to its overburdened legal system and the lack of support that had been promised by the international community. Kenya resumed the adjudication of the piracy cases in May after being reassured it would receive additional support. The UNODC announced in May that Seychelles would create [JURIST report] a UN-supported center to prosecute suspected pirates. The donations will be used to fund the transportation of witnesses [AP report] and upgrade the courts and prisons in Kenya and Seychelles. Kenya has convicted and sentenced 18 pirates with another 123 suspects awaiting trial. In March, Seychelles began the trial [AFP report] of 11 accused pirates captured last year after amending its criminal code to resemble international standards.

The international community is supporting actions taken against maritime piracy. In April, 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. The US is also involved in the prosecution of pirates. In May, nine Somali men accused of piracy and other charges by federal prosecutors pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] at their arraignment. Trials for the accused pirates are scheduled for July but may be delayed until September.