Piracy — Verdict for the third EUNAVFOR case in Kenya

EU NAVFOR wel­comes the third judg­ment, which was deliv­ered on 29 Sep­tem­ber, in a Kenyan pros­e­cu­tion in con­nec­tion with the inter­dic­tion of a pirate group by an EU NAVFOR war­ship.

The con­vic­tion involved eleven Soma­li men accused of acts of pira­cy. The pre­sid­ing Mag­is­trate, the Hon Ole Tanchu, deliv­ered the ver­dict at the Mom­basa Law Courts on 29 Sep­tem­ber, sen­tenc­ing the eleven Soma­li men accused to prison sen­tences of five years.

The con­vic­tion relates to the attack on the Mer­chant Ves­sel SAFMARINE ASIA on 15 April 2009. On that day, the Liberia-flagged MV SAFMARINE ASIA came under sus­tained small arms and Rock­et Pro­pelled Grenade (RPG) attack from two skiffs that were oper­at­ing in close com­pa­ny with a moth­er ship. Fol­low­ing a dis­tress call from the strick­en con­tain­er ship, the heli­copter from French war­ship FS NIVOSE quick­ly arrived on the scene to deter the hijack­ing and shad­ow the moth­er ves­sel until the war­ship arrived and inter­cept­ed the pirates.

To date, EU NAVFOR has trans­ferred 92 indi­vid­u­als to the Kenya author­i­ties for pros­e­cu­tion in the Kenyan nation­al courts. Ear­li­er on this month, the Kenya author­i­ties already sen­tenced 14 men to 5 years impris­on­ment each.

Pros­e­cu­tions are con­duct­ed by Kenyan pros­e­cu­tors under Kenyan Law before a sin­gle mag­is­trate. EU NAVFOR offi­cers work close­ly with Kenyan pros­e­cu­tors and the local police with regard to the prepa­ra­tion of the pros­e­cu­tion case.

The max­i­mum sen­tence upon con­vic­tion for pira­cy offences in Kenya is life impris­on­ment; under Kenyan Law – and indeed as a pre-con­di­tion for sus­pect­ed pirates being trans­ferred by EU NAVFOR – cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment is not avail­able. In all cas­es, the accused per­sons have had the ben­e­fit of legal rep­re­sen­ta­tion.


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