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11 December 2023

UN envoy says pirates rarely face justice


Most Somali pirates captured in the Indian Ocean end up being released without facing justice, UN envoy Jack Lang said Saturday.

"Nine out of 10 pirates captured by marines are freed, despite efforts by many states to have a single jurisdiction" for piracy trials, said Lang, the special piracy envoy of the United Nations.

"This impunity encourages piracy," he hold a group of journalists in Washington.

Lang is set to release a report on the subject on Monday to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

An estimated 1,200 seamen were taken hostage by pirates in 2010 in the Indian Ocean, a record.

Lang was expected to offer a series of proposal to help bring pirates to justice under international law. He said he hopes for a UN resolution on the subject in three to four weeks.

Dozens of warships from navies around the world now patrol shipping lanes off Somalia's coast and into the Gulf of Aden. But a recent UN report said that piracy has been on the rise.

Some 700 suspected and convicted pirates are now in detention in 12 countries, more than half of them in Somalia, according to Yury Fedotov, executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODOC).

Somalia has had no central government since a civil war erupted with the 1991 overthrow of former president Mohamed Siad Barre, and an Al-Qaeda supported Islamist militia is battling transitional leaders for power.