What's In Blue

Posted Fri 17 Jun 2011

Somali Piracy Report

On Wednesday, 15 June, the Secretary-General’s report on possible modalities for the establishment of anti-piracy courts (requested by the Council in resolution 1976 of 11 April) was circulated to Council members. A briefing on the report by Under- Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Patricia O’Brien is scheduled for Tuesday, 21 June. Council members are also planning to speak and can be expected to offer some initial reactions to the report and perhaps some indication as to what can be expected in terms of further Council action.

The report does not make any clear recommendations. However, its findings seem to indicate that there are significant obstacles to the establishment of a court system as proposed by Jack Lang, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Legal Issues Related to Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, in his January 2011 report.

It appears that the report advises that the establishment of these courts which would operate under Somali law is not possible under the existing domestic criminal law framework. New legislation by the Somali transitional parliament and perhaps a constitutional amendment would be needed. This is likely to be difficult, if not impossible, in the current political climate. (On June 9, Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan deferred elections for 12 months to allow more time for a political transition and called for the appointment of a new prime minister within 30 days. However, Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has rejected calls to step down.)

In addition the Secretariat report appears to confirm that the Somalis themselves -including the Transitional Federal Government and Somali regional authorities – are firmly against the possible establishment of a piracy court operating under Somali law in another country in the region.

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