Seeking Support

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Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga  is seeking a meeting early next year to ask international actors to pull their weight in prosecuting Somali pirates arrested in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.

The East African nation has tried dozens of pirates since signing agreements with the United States, European Union and individual states in 2008.

Yet it feels it is carrying an unfair burden in having to prosecute pirates seized by international warships patrolling the coastal waters off neighbouring Somalia.

Some 10 suspected pirates are currently undergoing trial in Hamburg – the first piracy case in Germany for 400 years – while the Seychelles and the US have both prosecuted pirates.

However, Kenya has remained the main destination for suspected pirates.

‘These agreements were concluded within the framework of various UN Security Council Resolutions that obligate the international community to collaborate in fighting piracy,’ Odinga told lawmakers. ‘However, there has been little or no corresponding complementary obligation on the other parties to this agreement.’

Odinga said Kenya would be asking for UN help to build regional anti-piracy capacity and for the institution of a Somali Court sitting in a third state in the region.

Somalia, which has been without an effective central government since 1991, is busy combating a relentless Islamist insurgency and does not have the ability to carry out trials on its own soil.

‘As a government, we are appealing to the international community to collaborate fully on this matter, in line with UN recommendations,’ he said. ‘We need accelerated efforts to partner with shipping states, regional coastal states, and major port states to create a more effective international legal and enforcement.’

The pirates, who take to the sea in search of multimillion-dollar ransoms, have expanded their range to avoid the warships sent to curb the problem.

This year there have been nine attacks in Kenya’s waters, Odinga said, adding the growing menace is threatening the country’s economic potential.

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