EUCAP NESTOR: Bolstering the Rule of Law to Counter Piracy in the Horn of Africa – Interview with David HAMMOND

David HAMMONDFollowing retirement for the UK Royal Marines as a former frontline operator and then latterly as a naval barrister (Counsel), David Hammond was instructed by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to be the UK representative and lead lawyer for the planning, establishment and delivery of the €40m European Union’s “NESTOR” Common Security and Defence policy (CSDP) Counter-Piracy Legal Advisory Programme for East Africa. As part of the advance planning team, David gained unique and valuable experience throughout East Africa, including in Somalia and where he led the legal liaison with the Somaliland and Puntland authorities at Ministerial and Attorney-General level. David successfully delivered the NESTOR Legal Advisory Programme, involving the establishment of significant rule of law programmes and which he headed up until June 2012.

As the Horn of Africa slowly progresses from a strategy of immediate counter-piracy to a strategy of post-piracy development, David kindly accepted our invitation to respond to a few questions on NESTOR’s mandate and operation. The following answers are provided on the basis that they are correct to the best of his current knowledge.

• What is EUCAP NESTOR main role in tackling piracy in the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean and, in particular, what are its main thematic areas of operation?

As per the EU Council Decision 2012/389/CFSP of 16 July 2012, the objective of EUCAP NESTOR is to assist the development in the Horn of Africa and the Western Indian Ocean States of a self-sustainable capacity for continued enhancement of their maritime security including counter-piracy, and maritime governance. EUCAP NESTOR will have initial geographic focus on Djibouti, Kenya, the Seychelles and Somalia. EUCAP NESTOR will also be deployed in Tanzania, following receipt by the Union of an invitation from the Tanzanian authorities.

In order to achieve the objective, the tasks of EUCAP NESTOR were identified as being:

(a) assist authorities in the region in achieving the efficient organisation of the maritime security agencies carrying out the coast guard function;

(b) deliver training courses and training expertise to strengthen the maritime capacities of the States in the region, initially Djibouti, Kenya and the Seychelles, with a view to achieving self-sustainability in training;

(c) assist Somalia in developing its own land-based coastal police capability supported by a comprehensive legal and regulatory framework;

(d) identify priority equipment capability gaps and provide assistance in addressing them, as appropriate, to meet the objective of EUCAP NESTOR;

(e) provide assistance in strengthening national legislation and the rule of law through a regional legal advisory programme, and legal expertise to support the drafting of maritime security and related national legislation;

(f) promote regional cooperation between national authorities responsible for maritime security;

(g) strengthen regional coordination in the field of maritime capacity building;

(h) provide strategic advice through the assignment of experts to key administrations;

(i) implement mission projects and coordinate donations;

(j) develop and conduct a regional information and communication strategy.

• Why the creation of a mission with such peculiar mandate in the Horn of Africa setting?

At that time, and as far as I was aware, it was determined that in concert with various other on-going counter-piracy initiatives, including military action by EUNAVFOR, established work by EU delegations alongside the IMO, UNODC piracy programme and the likes of the Djibouti Code of Conduct, that a land-based regional programme which imparted expert knowledge and training to judicial, constabulary and other engaged entities throughout the Horn of Africa was the most efficient and effect method of assisting with the suppression of the piracy threat. Bolstering the effectiveness of the rule of law throughout affected areas was also seen as being of key importance in assisting with regional political stability.

Hargeysa Secure Hotel and Compound - Courtesy of David Hammond

Hargeysa Secure Hotel and Compound – Courtesy of David Hammond


• What are, therefore, the main differences in the mandates of EUCAP Nestor and EUNAVFOR and how these coordinate their respective activities?

NESTOR, as described, focuses on the imparting of expert constabulary, judicial, coastguard and logistical knowledge by Member State subject matter experts through training courses. This is separate to, but compliments the military presence provided for by EUNAVFOR alongside the on-going initiatives led by the EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa.

• What is the current status of EUCAP Nestor deployment and what will be its overall structure and geographic area of operation?

I understand that at the moment staff are currently deployed to three countries: Djibouti (Mission Headquarters), the Republic of the Seychelles and Kenya. They will operate in those countries, plus Somalia and which will be the main focus. Tanzania has been asked to participate but so far has not invited the mission to carry out work there. The mission is mandated to run for 2 years commencing from 16 Jul 2012 and is headed up by Jacques Launay.

• What were the most challenging aspects in EUCAP Nestor set up and preliminary deployment process, given its geographic and thematic breadth?

The lasting memory I have in relation to the initial stages of the pre-deployment planning for the Technical Assessment Mission (TAM) and subsequent drafting of the Concept of Operations which led to the Operational plan (OPLAN), was the positive drive and collegiate Member State political will in Brussels to make the operation work. This meant significant and sustained drafting, revision and constant presentational updates to the Political and Security Committee (PSC) from what was a small team, as set against the enormity of the task which then faced us. This was undertaken in a structured, collegiate and team-focused manner with many long days and nights spent brain-storming the successive issues that arose. This was undertaken with significant levels of professionalism from selected Member State individuals who had previously never before worked together and this often required a ready sense of humour from all of us.

For my part, once deployed in the Horn of Africa, the issue of establishing a new rule of law and legal advisory programme sat with me due to the limited size of the team. The TAM ran for over one month in total and involved multiple visits to five States by all team members. There was continuous ‘hot’ planning, setting up of meetings on the sour of the moment and exploiting every opportunity to meet key in-country stakeholders. It was what I would call “quick and dirty planning and mission development” and which proved most successful.

The biggest challenge was, in my mind, to achieve local buy-in for our mission and its purpose. This meant that I needed to identify and seek out the key decision makers at every stage and convince them of the benefits of the EU mission and especially of the merits of the Legal Advisory Programme.

Meeting with Puntland Attorney General - Courtesy of David Hammond

Meeting with Puntland Attorney General – Courtesy of David Hammond

 

The most striking mission development work for the Legal Advisory Programme that I undertook, was in Somaliland and Puntland alongside the judicial and ministerial authorities. This included being present at piracy trials in the Garowe court and spending time in discussion with the Attorney General, before going on to meet with the Chief Justice and Minister of Justice and Religious Affairs for Puntland. The issue of extending the rule of law into the coastal areas, as well as support within the IDP camps for education in terms of women’s rights and humanitarian law was of particular note and interest for me. Subsequently, I was able to draft the individual programmes that would assist in some of those areas of articulated need and which was most gratifying. In Somaliland, the essence of the interactions were the same in terms of seeking out areas in which we could assist the authorities with the development of the rule of law through imparting knowledge via training and advisory roles.

• Current available data shows that piracy attacks in Somalia are diminishing. Is this the result of the international community efforts to combat piracy and what impact will this have on the continuation of such efforts, particularly the full implementation of EUCAP Nestor mandate? 

I am informed that the decrease in attacks is due to a variety of factors, including: EUNAVFOR’s ATALANTA operation and other naval operations, greater use of PSCs, greater use of best practices to avoid risks as well as improved information sharing. However, I am informed that this reduction is probably fragile and could be reversed without careful oversight. As such, the environment in which EUCAP NESTOR was envisaged to act has changed, but arguably there is now an even greater need for the mission as the success of reducing piracy at sea has opened the possibility of doing even more to create security and stability on land, which will provide the conditions for a lasting reduction in piracy.

David Hammond can be contacted at:

david.hammond@9bedfordrow.co.uk

http://www.9bedfordrow.co.uk/members/David_Hammond

http://uk.linkedin.com/in/davideuanhammond

In Brief: UNDP Human Development Report for Somalia – Youth Empowerment Is Key

Aerial view of a typical homestead on the outskirts of the southern Somali port city of Kismayo – Credit: UN Photo/Stuart Price

The United Nation Development Programme released its Somalia Human Development Report 2012. The Report, the first since 2001, discusses the factors behind Somalia’s conflict and state collapse in the past 20 years, and focuses on the enormous potential that lies in empowering Somali youth to become an engine of peace-building and development.

Key data

  • Somali development and humanitarian indicators are among the lowest in the world;

  • Over 70 percent of Somalia’s population is under the age of thirty;

  • The youth population in Somalia may continue to swell due to high fertility rates, estimated at 6.2 births per women between 2010 and 2015;

  • Overall unemployment among people aged 15 to 64 is estimated at 54 percent in Somalia, up from 47 percent in 2002;

  • The unemployment rate for youth aged 14 to 29 is 67 percent—one of the highest rates in the world; women lose out more, with unemployment rates at 74%, compared to men at 61%;

  • Life expectancy in Somalia is 50 years, up from 47 in 2001;

  • Over 60% of youth have intentions to leave the country for better livelihood opportunities;

  • Somalia ranks as one of the worst countries worldwide for women. Gender-based violence and discrimination against Somali women is widespread.

In particular, the Report estimates that, since 1991, the international community, including the Somali diaspora, has collectively spent just over $55 billion in responding to Somalia’s conflict, of which Piracy accounts for about 40%, followed by humanitarian and development aid; remittances; peacekeeping and military responses, counter-terror initiatives; and costs associated with international crime and illicit financial flows.

Efforts to Support Somalia-based Prosecutions Continue

Following a recent trial in the UAE resulting in the conviction of 10 pirates, the UAE has announced that it will host a training of Somali judges to buttress local, Somalia-based prosecutions. The UN report from January recommended regional prosecutions, in lieu of an international court, to tackle the expanding docket of Indian Ocean piracy cases without an obvious home. Such prosecutions were recommended and have continued in regional states, including Kenya, Tanzania, Mauritius, and Seychelles. Moreover, the UN report suggested that the break-away regions of Somaliland and Puntland, as well as the Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu, would be appropriate locations for prosecutions. Since then, violence against the judiciary and fair trial concerns have arisen in Puntland in particular. Nonetheless, the UAE judicial training, apparently supported by the French ministry of foreign and European affairs, will identify and train judges from Puntland, Somaliland and the TFG. The move is consistent with efforts to funnel the piracy issue back to Somalia as regional states grow tired of bearing the brunt of the prosecutorial burden. The UAE report notes:

The Kenyan ambassador to the UAE Mohamed Gello said prosecuting pirates in neighbouring countries such as his was also a strain on resources.”Any move that will help the Somali judicial system effectively deal with pirates is welcome,” Mr Gello said. “This sends the right signals that law and order is slowly being restored, along with the administration of justice. “It is crucial to build confidence in the judicial system and for the pirates to be dealt with in their own country.”

Funneling Pirates Back to Somalia

In Brief: Second International Counter-Piracy Conference Concludes in Dubai

The second International Counter-Piracy Conference concluded yesterday in Dubai, UAE. The Conference, which brought together public and private stakeholders in the fight against piracy, welcomed the significant progress made in combating maritime piracy on land and in the waters off the coast of Somalia and reiterated the need for a comprehensive approach to eradicate piracy and its root causes. The Conference Declaration, adopted by foreign ministers and senior government officials, as well as representatives from UN agencies and top executives from leading maritime companies and organisations, backed the UAE proposal to make the UN Trust Fund to Support Initiatives of States to Counter Piracy off the Coast of Somalia a centralized focal point for funds donated towards the development of Somalia’s maritime security capacity. During the Conference, the UAE pledged US$1million to the Trust Fund. The donation was then matched by a pledge made by Ocean Beyond Piracy.

The Conference also expressed support toward the establishment of a permanent, legitimate, and fully representative government for Somalia and welcomed initiatives to foster long-term economic development in Somalia’s on-shore communities, as well as the increasing financial contributions made by the global maritime industry towards counter piracy initiatives. Industry leaders attending the conference also issued a statement underlining concerns about the impact of hostage taking and violence on seafarers and their families and calling for clear and consistent standards of conduct for privately contracted armed security guards on board of vessels.

Somalia’s Transitional Government President Sheikh Sharif and Somaliland’s President Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo

One of the most significant development of the Conference, however, has been the holding of unprecendented formal discussions between the leaders of Somalia and the self-proclaimed breakaway region of Somaliland, further to initial talks held last week in London. Somaliland initially agreed to enter into talks with Somalia during the London Conference earlier this year. While the parties are still far apart, particularly with regard to Somaliland’s independence status, they jointly inked the Dubai Declaration, which aims to pave the way for future talks and cooperation between them, including the common fight against piracy and terrorism.

Mauritius Officially On Board to Prosecute as Other Options Dwindle

Beau Bassin Prison in Mauritius where pirate suspects may be detained

Reuters is reporting that Mauritius has inked a deal with the TFG, Somaliland and Puntland to start to transfer convicted pirates to Somali prisons, paving the way for prosecutions in Mauritius. This comes as the locations proposed for prosecution by the UN Secretary General have dwindled. In January, the UN Secretary General issued a report noting Somaliland and Puntland as suitable locations for the prosecution of pirates. It is becoming increasingly clear that these autonomous regions may have difficulty in laying the foundations necessary for fair trials in the foreseeable future. For example, last week a Somaliland military court abruptly sentenced 17 civilians to death the day after violent clashes in the northern city of Hargeisa, leading a UN special envoy to urge a retrial in which the fair trial rights of the Accused would be respected. Therefore, the focus will have to shift to the remaining states recommended by Secretary General (i.e. Kenya, Tanzania, Seychelles, and Mauritius). As one of only four states in the region deemed suitable for prosecutions, the Mauritius announcement is undoubtedly appreciated by the states patrolling high risk areas who are searching for states willing to prosecute pirates.

As to the trio of other states identified in the UNSG report, Kenya is moving forward with prosecutions in the High Court in Mombasa, despite a 2010 decision by Judge Ibrahim (now of the Kenyan Supreme Court) holding that Kenyan courts lack jurisdiction to try the crime of piracy. Judge Ibrahim’s decision is pending an appellate decision by the Kenyan Court of Appeal.  But in the interim, his decision is not binding authority on other judges of the High Court (although they are still free to follow Judge Ibrahim’s decision if they so choose). Seychelles continues to prosecute pirates but may periodically refuse suspects due to a lack of space in its prisons. Finally, last month it was reported that Tanzania had yet to sign a pirate-suspect transfer agreement with the EU, indicating that prosecutions in Tanzania will be limited to those captured by Tanzanian naval authorities for the time-being.

Somaliland’s New Anti-Piracy Law

The semi-autonomous region of Somaliland has become an increasingly important ally to shipping states in resolving the present quagmire in piracy prosecutions in the Gulf of Aden. In the buildup to t­­­he recent London Conference on Somalia, Somaliland passed legislation criminalizing piracy within its judicial system. It is based to a large degree on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea definition of piracy with some important differences. The Anti-Piracy Law, together with legislation contemplating the transfer to Somaliland from other States of convicted offenders, were signed into law by Somaliland’s President last month. While not directly referring to piracy repression measures, the Prisoners Transfer Law already facilitated the transfer of several convicted Somali pirates from other countries in the Gulf of Aden region currently carrying out piracy prosecutions, particularly the Seychelles. The passing of both Laws signals Somaliland’s commitment to combat maritime piracy off its coast and elsewhere in the region in its growing engagement with the international community in a quest for international recognition. More importantly, the Laws fill a lacuna in Somalia’s out-of-date and politically-motivated legal framework, as applicable to Somaliland pursuant to Article 130(5) of its 2001 Constitution. The new Law is a case study in the potential hazards in partial implementation of UNCLOS terms.

Under the previous applicable legislation, particularly Somalia’s 1962 Penal Code, acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea where arguably punishable as armed robbery (Article 484), extortion (Article 485) and kidnapping (Article 486). Additional issues arose in connection with the applicable forms of participation to these crimes as well as the punishment of inchoate crimes. Recourse to the 1975 Kidnapping Law, adopted during the military dictatorship, was particularly problematic due to the possible unconstitutional breach of fundamental human rights by its provisions, which also included the jurisdiction over this crime by a special national security court. Finally, Articles 205-206 of the 1959 Somalia Maritime Code criminalize piracy and mutiny carried out by ship masters and crews. However, these articles do not provide sufficient legal basis to contrast the current pirates modus operandi in the Gulf of Aden, where pirates often operate off small and unregistered skiffs and without a formalized chain of command. An excellent analysis of the inadequacy of both Somalia and Somaliland previous anti-piracy legal framework can be found at Somaliland Law.com.

First and foremost, it has to be noted how the Anti-Piracy Law eliminates within its judicial system the customary law distinction between piracy and armed robbery at sea, defining any attack within Somaliland territorial waters as “piracy” (Article 2(1)(c)). The new Law also repels Articles 205-206 of the 1959 Maritime Code (Article 13, see also Article 9) and affirms the applicability of the 1962 Penal Code for matters not specifically dealt with within the Law (Article 14), for instance with regard to forms of participation in the commission of the crime. More importantly, the Law introduces a term of imprisonment of 5 to 20 years (Article 4) without the possibility of conversion of a sentence into a fine (Article 10). In the case of murder, the provisions of Article 434 of the Penal Code, which provides for the death penalty, will apply. In addition, the Law has expanded the definition of piracy set forth in UNCLOS by adding two forms of participation: ‘willful participation’ and ‘aiding’ piracy.

Article 2: Definitions

A. An act of Piracy means:

1. Any illegal act of violence or detention or depredation committed by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft or by armed pirates for the purposes of illegal financial gain and directed:

a) on the high seas, against a ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such a ship or aircraft;

b) against a ship, an aircraft, a person or property on board a ship or an aircraft in a place outside the jurisdiction of any state;

c) against a ship, an aircraft, a person or property on board a ship or an aircraft within the territorial waters of the Republic of Somaliland.

2. Any act of willful participation in an act directed knowingly as a pirate’s attack against a private ship or private aircraft.

3. Any act which incites or facilitates or aids piracy as defined in Clauses 1 and 2 of this Article.

4. Similarly, any act of piracy directed at or by a warship or military aircraft or a government ship or aircraft whose crew takes over its control by means of a mutiny and commits acts of piracy as defined in (this) Article 2 of this Law.

B. Ship means any sea vessel including ship, boat, speed boat, launch, canoe or any other sea vessels which are used for acts of piracy.

Law on Combating Piracy – LAW NO. 52/2012

(Unofficial Translation – Courtesy http://www.somalilandlaw.com)

Definitions of Piracy

Article 2 of the Anti-Piracy Law reproduced in extenso above mirrors the provisions of Article 101 of UNCLOS, with the exception of some small but notable differences. Article 2(1) expressly refers to actions of “armed pirates”. Article 6(1) only briefly expands on this notion, identifying pirates as “persons who intend to commit the acts of piracy referred to in Article 2”. Article 2(1) also identifies “illegal financial gains” as the purpose of the acts of piracy thus providing a narrower, though more precise, definition than the customary “private ends” requirement contained in UNCLOS.

Article 2(2) is particularly interesting in that it removes the traditional direct link between acts of piracy and the use of a ship. Because of its wording and its location within the Law, Article 2(2) appears to replace Article 101(b) of UNCLOS which refers to “any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship”. Some authors have noted a possible lacuna in the punishment of direct perpetrators of acts of piracy created by the departure from Article 101(b) UNCLOS, which is also referred to as punishing “cruising with pirate intent”. This has prompted a call for an amendment to the Anti-Piracy Law to include this latter provision. However, it is also arguable that Article 2(2) is an entirely novel provision expanding the criminalization of piracy to encompass the responsibility of pirate kingpins and middle-men operating from dry land. Indeed, these types of  criminal conduct might not always fall under the provisions of Article 2(3) of the Law, as well as Article 101(c) UNCLOS, which criminalize inciting as well as internationally facilitating piracy.

Somaliland Territorial jurisdiction

Further to the comment above concerning the abandonment of the customary term of “armed robbery at sea”, pursuant to Article 5 of the Law, Somaliland Courts will have jurisdiction over any offence of piracy committed within Somaliland sea or in an area outside the territorial waters of any other country. In this regard, pursuant to Article 8, the Somaliland Coast Guard have the power to seize ships and to arrest and investigate suspected pirates.

Confiscation of Pirate Property

Article 11 of the Law provides for the confiscation of property seized from pirates. The main goal of this provision, also contemplated by the UNCLOS, is to drain off the resources of pirates’ cartels by removing their main revenues, including equipment and paid ransoms. However, further consideration has to be given to the  full extent of application of this rule, particularly with regard to ships seized by pirates and subsequently used in connection with pirate attacks, for instance as mother ships. The strict application of this norm risks further depriving, even if just temporarily, the legitimate ship owners of costly assets, as well as of their cargo, upon it and its crew being freed from captivity. Crucial in this regard will be the interpretation of Articles 6(2) and 7 of the Law which, respectively refers to the status and the ownership of a pirated ship.

Conclusions

The general thrust of the new Anti-Piracy Law is to adapt Somaliland’s legislation not only to the established international norms, particularly the relevant UNCLOS provisions, but also to provide an effective tool to respond to the modern features of pirates attacks, as well as armed robbery within Somaliland’s coastal waters. The Law identifies relevant criminal conduct and provides a clearer definition of pirate ships. However, an opportunity has been missed for the provision of a more direct definition of pirates. The Law also clearly targets the financing and other actions in support of piracy (see also Article 3(4)). Yet, the Law risks paying too much tribute to the current factual circumstances of the pirates attacks taking place in the Gulf of Aden, departing from a more abstract legislative framework. In several instances, Somali-based pirates have already shown a peculiar capacity to adapt their modus operandi, as well as their targets, as the international community struggles to devise efficient deterrent measures, whether involving increased naval presence in the Gulf of Aden or the harmonization of national anti-piracy laws. With the implementation of the Somaliland Anti-Piracy Law we will soon have a chance to assess whether this criminal trend will continue evolving or whether the legislation managed to fill a long overdue legal gap. It also remains to be seen whether there will be continued political will in Somaliland, and support from the international community, to put this Law into action. Of particular interest will be whether Somaliland will take the responsibility to prosecute suspected pirates even if they are native to other regions within Somalia, particularly from Puntland.

After the London Conference on Somalia: A First Appraisal of Counter-Piracy Measures

The much awaited London Conference on Somalia was finally held at Lancaster House, London on 23 February 2012. Fifty-five delegations attended the Conference, including the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, the UN Secretary General, Ban-ki Moon and the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton as well as the leaders of various countries in the Gulf of Aden and East Africa region, such as Djibouti, Seychelles, Mauritius, Kenya and Tanzania. Leaders of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government as well as of the breakaway regions of Puntland, Galmudug and Aluh Sunnah wal Jamaah (ASWJ) also participated. As anticipated, the self declared autonomous region of Somaliland attended the Conference, marking a major policy shift for the former British protectorate which deliberately stayed away from several previous peace conferences on Somalia. While the participation of all regions of Somalia was certainly a legitimating factor for the Conference, it is worth noting that the direct interests of Somalia were represented by 5 different delegations.

The Conference was meant to be a key moment in Somalia’s troubled history and called for a change in the international approach from the fruitless policies of the past 20 years. The Conference was preceded by much debate and a degree of controversy, particularly on the future of Somalia’s transitional federal institutions, whose mandate will end in August 2012. The Somali diaspora showed hope for more inclusiveness in building the political and economic landscape of the country. On the eve of the conference, in a bid to increase leverage of the decisions to be taken in London, the UN Security Council boosted the current African Union peacekeeping mission, raising its troop contingent up to 17000 soldiers.

The Conference registered a series of important political commitments from the stakeholders of the Somali cause, relevant to political, humanitarian, security and governance issues. Notably, leaders attending the Conference recognized the importance of empowering the Somali population and creating accountability for its political leadership, with the international community acting as a facilitator of the process. We will soon assess whether these commitments could turn into effective and practical action and what will be their contribution in shaping the future of this country. Not surprisingly, the fight against piracy occupied a prominent place in the discussion. Perhaps the most important aspect of the Conference in this regard was the acknowledgment that piracy in Somalia requires a comprehensive approach on land as well as at sea to tackle the root causes of piracy. This is a very important step. A military-focused approach of targeting pirates at sea coupled with limited judicial accountability measures could only provide a short term deterrent if not coupled with social development, economic growth and good governance. The underlying causes of piracy, but also its direct effects, are inextricably intertwined with all other problems affecting Somalia.

“We agreed that piracy cannot be solved by military means alone, and reiterated the importance of supporting communities to tackle the underlying causes of piracy, and improving the effective use of Somali coastal waters through regional maritime capacity-building measures.”

Some of the most encouraging developments of the Conference pertain to the immediate fight against piracy. These include the signing of important agreements enhancing the current plans by the international community to create a “cycle of justice”, or, as we called it, a “Globalized System of Criminal Justice”, where pirates are caught at sea, transferred to regional states for prosecution and, finally, imprisoned in Somalia. Hosting the Conference created momentum upon the UK’s own contribution to tackle piracy. The UK and Tanzania signed a memorandum of understanding allowing the UK Royal Navy to transfer suspected pirates apprehended at sea to Tanzania for prosecution. The UK also signed a statement of intent with Mauritius for the same purposes. These agreements are particularly relevant in light of Kenya’s current suspension of the transfer of suspected pirates for prosecution before its national courts. Plans for the imprisonment of pirates also registered some significant development. Puntland committed to the transfer of convicted pirates in the region to its prisons from August 2012. In an effort to enhance its anti-piracy strategy, Somaliland will also focus on improving its capacity to jail suspected and convicted offenders. Somaliland signed a ground breaking agreement with Seychelles for the transfer of convicted pirates to its prisons. In addition, Somaliland has recently passed a law declaring piracy illegal and making it an offense punishable by a maximum of twenty-five years. Somaliland previously limited prosecutions to charging alleged pirates with armed robbery.

“There will be no impunity for piracy. We called for greater development of judicial capacity to prosecute and detain those behind piracy both in Somalia and in the wider region and recognised the need to strengthen capacity in regional states. We welcomed new arrangements, which enable some states and naval operations to transfer suspected pirates captured at sea for trial by partners across the Indian Ocean region, and if convicted, to transfer them to prisons in Puntland and Somaliland which meet international standards. We noted the intention to consider further the possibility of creating courts in Somalia specialised in dealing with piracy.”

The first chance to evaluate the outcome of the London Conference will be, yet again, at another conference. Turkey, an increasingly growing ally of the Somali cause, will organize in cooperation with the UN the Second International Conference on Somalia. The conference will be held on 1 June 2012 in Istanbul. In addition, the UAE, the current chair of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. will host a second International Maritime Counter-Piracy Conference on 27-28 June 2012 in Dubai, further to an initial event hosted in April 2011. But the real work will be on the ground as attempts are made to execute the promises made at the conference, including exercising the rights and obligations set out in the newly minted transfer agreements.

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