Verdict for the first EU NAVFOR case in Kenya

EU NAVFOR wel­comes the first judge­ment yes­ter­day in a Kenyan pros­e­cu­tion in con­nec­tion with the inter­dic­tion of a pirate group by an EU NAVFOR war­ship.

The con­vic­tion involved sev­en Soma­li men accused of acts of pira­cy. The pre­sid­ing Chief Mag­is­trate, the Hon Rosemelle Muto­ka CM, deliv­ered the ver­dict at the Mom­basa Law Courts on 6 Sep­tem­ber, sen­tenc­ing the sev­en Soma­li men accused to prison sen­tences of five years as from the judge­ment date.

The con­vic­tion relates to the attack on the FGS SPESSART, a Rhoen – class tanker of the Ger­man Navy, on 29 March 2009. The attack by sev­en men aboard a sin­gle pirate skiff was repelled by the onboard secu­ri­ty detail. The skiff was then tracked through the com­bined efforts of three multi­na­tion­al task­forces and final­ly appre­hend­ed by the Ger­man frigate FGS RHEINLAND-PFALZ, oper­at­ing as part of EU NAVFOR.

EU NAVFOR has to date trans­ferred 9 groups of sus­pect­ed pirates com­pris­ing 75 indi­vid­u­als to the Kenyan author­i­ties for pros­e­cu­tion in the Kenyan nation­al courts.

Pros­e­cu­tions are con­duct­ed by Kenyan pros­e­cu­tors under Kenyan Law before a sin­gle mag­is­trate. EU NAVFOR offi­cers work close­ly with Kenyan pros­e­cu­tors 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 pre­con­di­tion for sus­pect­ed pirates being trans­ferred by EU NAVFOR – cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment is not avail­able. Cas­es are con­duct­ed in Eng­lish, how­ev­er, a Soma­li lan­guage inter­preter is present at all pro­ceed­ings. In all cas­es the accused per­sons have had the ben­e­fit of legal rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

“This first judge­ment marks an impor­tant step in the co-oper­a­tion between Euro­pean Union and Kenya in the repres­sion of acts of pira­cy and armed rob­bery off the coast of Soma­lia”, com­ments Major Gen­er­al Buster Howes, Oper­a­tion Com­man­der of EU NAVFOR Soma­lia.


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