Pirate court opens in Kenya

30 June 2010 by -

The world’s first pirate court opened in the Kenyan port town of Mombasa on Thursday. Set up with the help of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the high-security courtroom will hear cases of maritime piracy and other serious criminal offences.

By Thijs Bouwknegt

The world’s first pirate court opened in the Kenyan port town of Mombasa on Thursday. Set up with the help of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the high-security courtroom will hear cases of maritime piracy and other serious criminal offences.

By Thijs Bouwknegt

Some 123 suspected pirates have been held in Kenya, 18 of whom have been convicted while another 105 are still on trial. Most of the men were arrested off the coast of Somalia where economic circumstances have pushed many fishermen towards piracy since the on-going decade long civil war reduced the country to anarchy.

Kenya said earlier this year that it could no longer afford to accept suspected pirates captured by naval forces patrolling the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden.

The UNODC Counter-Piracy Programme arranged for donors - including the European Union, Canada, Germany, France, Australia and the US - to give the country $9.3 million to cover the cost of bringing witnesses to testify, equip police and prosecutors and upgrade courts and prisons.

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