Security Council Stresses Long-Term Solution Needed to Problem of Prosecuting, Imprisoning Pirates Operating off Somalia Coast, Welcomes Report on Issue

25 August 2010
SC/10014

Security Council Stresses Long-Term Solution Needed to Problem of Prosecuting, Imprisoning Pirates Operating off Somalia Coast, Welcomes Report on Issue

25 August 2010
Security Council
SC/10014
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6374th Meeting* (AM)

Security Council Stresses Long-Term Solution Needed to Problem of Prosecuting,

Imprisoning Pirates Operating off Somalia Coast, Welcomes Report on Issue

Secretary-General Presents Report with 7 Legal Options; Range from Enhanced UN

Assistance for Ongoing State Efforts, to Establishment of International Tribunal

Avowing that more effective legal prosecution of Somalia coast pirates would help deter future attacks and strengthen the rule of law, the Security Council today stressed the importance of finding a long-term solution to the problem of such prosecution and imprisonment and voiced its support for the appointment of a Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the issue, during a debate that heard from some 30 speakers.

The Council also welcomed the options proposed in the Secretary-General’s report (see Background) to support such prosecutions, through a statement read out by Vitaly Churkin of the Russian Federation, which holds the September Presidency of the 15-member body.  The submission of the options had been called for in resolution 1918 of 27 April 2010.

The options include enhancing United Nations assistance for ongoing prosecution in regional States and the creation of special domestic chambers in certain countries — possibly with international components — as well as regional or international tribunals, with corresponding prison arrangements, meant to meet challenges presented by the limited judicial and prison capacity of States in the region and the repatriation of suspects prosecuted by foreign courts.

In its continuing consideration of the Secretary-General’s options, the Council noted it was taking into account the work of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, existing practice in international and mixed tribunals, and the time and resources necessary to achieve and sustain substantive results.

Through the statement, the Council commended the ongoing efforts of States, in particular Kenya and the Seychelles, to prosecute suspected pirates in their national courts, as well as the assistance being provided to them by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and other international stakeholders.  It stressed the need for all States to criminalize piracy under their domestic law, among other measures.

The Council also stressed that peace, stability, development and the respect for human rights in Somalia were necessary to create the conditions for a durable eradication of piracy and armed robbery at sea off its coast.

Opening today’s discussion, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that achieving results in the prosecution of piracy – whether through new or existing judicial mechanisms — would require political and financial commitment from Member States.  The mechanism would have to have the capacity and resources to prosecute a large number of suspects, while ensuring due process.

In addition, he pointed out that a host State would need to be identified and adequate arrangements for transferring a large number of convicted to third States for their imprisonment.  It was to further explore those issues that he intended to appoint a Special Adviser on Legal Issues Related to Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, he said.

Patricia O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, further described the Secretary-General’s seven options, calling them a “very timely and important basis for Security Council consideration” that had benefited from input from numerous United Nations offices, taking into account United Nations experience in setting up and assisting criminal tribunals.

She said any of the options involving creation of a new judicial mechanism with United Nations participation would require a mandate for the Secretary-General, which was usually given in the form of a Council resolution requesting the Secretary-General to negotiate a suitable agreement with the State concerned.

Following those presentations, Council members and other interested Member States took the floor to welcome the Secretary-General’s options for strengthening judicial capacity against piracy as a good basis for further discussion, as well as his appointment of a Special Adviser for the issue.  Most speakers also stressed that it was crucial to secure the stability of Somalia in order to fully eradicate piracy off of its coast.

Some speakers called for increased support to judicial capacity in the region.  Kenya’s representative said that the current prosecution arrangements that had seen pirates handed over and tried in Kenya, the Seychelles and other States placed a heavy burden on those countries and were clearly untenable in the long run.  Better processes and mechanisms were urgently needed, he stressed, welcoming consideration of the options presented by the Secretary-General.

The representative of the Russian Federation said that investments in building capacity in Kenya had borne fruit, but the region as a whole needed increased partnership to bolster the capacity of law enforcement systems.  Other options should be kept on the agenda and compared to the achievements of existing mechanisms.  Most effective, he suggested, might be the establishment of an international mechanism at the regional level to complement national systems.

Also today, in his statement, the Secretary-General announced that, in the wake of what he called the “savage rape and assault” on civilians in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, he was dispatching Assistant Secretary-General Atul Khare to work with Special Representative Roger Meece and report back on how to increase protection of civilians.  He also requested that the Security Council seriously consider what more could be done to prevent further such appalling crimes.

In addition, the meeting began with a moment of silence in memory of the Parliament of Somalia and civilians who perished yesterday as a result of the attack on the Muna Hotel in Mogadishu.

Somalia’s representative thanked the Secretary-General, the members of the Security Council and the international community for the sympathy expressed and their engagement with his country in the interest of its security and stability.

Also speaking today were the representatives of China, United States, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Uganda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey, United Kingdom, Brazil, France, Nigeria, Austria, Gabon, Denmark, South Africa, Norway, Ukraine, Singapore, Seychelles, United Republic of Tanzania, India, Philippines, Sri Lanka and the Republic of Korea.

Representatives of the delegation of the European Union and the Permanent Observer for the African Union also made statements.

The meeting was opened at 10:38 a.m. and adjourned at 2:22 p.m.

The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2010/16 reads as follows:

“The Security Council continues to be gravely concerned by the threat that piracy and armed robbery at sea against vessels pose to the situation in Somalia and other States in the region, as well as to international navigation and the safety of commercial maritime routes.

“The Security Council strongly believes that persons responsible for acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, including those who incite or intentionally facilitate such acts, should be brought to justice, and considers in this regard that the effective prosecution of suspected pirates and their supporters may deter future pirate attacks.  The Council therefore deems it of utmost importance to find long-term solutions to the problem of prosecuting suspected, and imprisoning convicted, pirates, which achieve and sustain substantive results with a view to contributing to the reinforcement of the rule of law in Somalia, and recalls in this regard that peace and stability within Somalia, the strengthening of State institutions, economic and social development and respect for human rights and the rule of law are necessary to create the conditions for a durable eradication of piracy and armed robbery at sea off its coast.

“The Security Council welcomes the report of the Secretary-General (document S/2010/394), as requested by its resolution 1918 (2010), on possible options to further the aim of prosecuting and imprisoning persons responsible for acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, including, in particular, options for creating special domestic chambers possibly with international components, a regional tribunal or an international tribunal and corresponding imprisonment arrangements, taking into account the work of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (“CGPCS”), the existing practice in establishing international and mixed tribunals, and the time and resources necessary to achieve and sustain substantive results.  The Council notes that the report identifies the challenges faced in tackling this problem, in particular the limited judicial capacity of States in the region, prison capacity and repatriation arrangements for suspects prosecuted by foreign courts, and believes that it provides a solid base for future work in order to enhance international, regional and national cooperation in bringing pirates to justice.

“The Security Council commends the ongoing efforts of States, including States in the region, in particular Kenya and the Seychelles, to prosecute suspected pirates in their national courts, stressing the need for all States to continue these efforts, including through criminalizing piracy under their domestic law.

“The Security Council stresses the need for States and international organizations to continue addressing the problem of the limited capacity of the judicial and the corrections systems of Somalia and other States in the region to effectively prosecute and detain, pending trial, suspected, and imprison convicted, pirates.  In this regard the Council appreciates the assistance being provided by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and other international organizations and donors, in coordination with the CGPCS, to enhance the capacity of the judicial and the corrections systems in Somalia, Kenya, the Seychelles and other States in the region to prosecute suspected, and imprison convicted, pirates consistent with applicable international human rights law.  The Council also reaffirms that international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982, in particular its articles 100, 101 and 105, sets out the legal framework applicable to combating piracy and armed robbery at sea, as well as other ocean activities.

“The Security Council emphasizes the need for regular review of progress achieved in prosecution of and imprisonment of persons responsible for acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, including those who incite or intentionally facilitate such acts, with a view to considering possible further steps to ensure that such persons are held accountable.  The Council encourages the CGPCS to continue discussion in this regard, taking into account advantages and disadvantages of the various options described in the Secretary-General’s report.

“The Security Council welcomes the intention of the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Adviser to him on Legal Issues Related to Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, bearing in mind the importance of the coordination of efforts by the Secretariat, including the Special Adviser, with the ongoing work of all relevant international actors.

“The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to include in his report to the Council pursuant to paragraph 17 of its resolution 1897 (2009) any new information and observations, taking into account the work of the CGPCS, on possible ways to advance the ongoing cooperation, including with States in the region in prosecuting and imprisoning persons responsible for acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia.

“The Security Council expresses its intention to remain seized of the matter.”

Background

The Security Council had before it the report of the Secretary-General on possible options to further the aim of prosecuting and imprisoning persons responsible for acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, including, in particular, options for creating special domestic chambers possibly with international components, a regional tribunal or an international tribunal and corresponding imprisonment arrangements, taking into account the work of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, the existing practice in establishing international and mixed tribunals, and the time and resources necessary to achieve and sustain substantive results (document S/2010/394), which was requested by the Council in its resolution 1918 (2010).

The report says prosecutions are ongoing in 10 States and includes a table of national prosecutions in regional states, including in Kenya, Somalia (Somaliland and Puntland), Seychelles and Yemen, and describes United Nations assistance being provided through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Political Office in Somalia (UNPOS) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

In the report, the Secretary-General identifies seven options for the Council.  He says it could enhance United Nations assistance to build regional States’ capacity to prosecute and imprison people responsible for piracy and armed robbery.  He notes ongoing success in that area, particularly in Kenya, which opened a new, high-security courtroom on 24 June in Shimo La Tewa, Mombassa, built by the Counter-Piracy Programme of UNODC, to hear piracy cases and try other serious criminal offences.  The UNODC programme in Kenya commenced with funding of $2.3 million designed to last 18 months and cover around 30 prosecutions.  Its programme in the Seychelles commenced with $1.1 million and covers prosecution of around 30 suspects.

A potential host State and its preferences for whether to accept international participation and on what terms would need to be identified for any of the other six options.  “The need for sufficient arrangements for imprisonment in the region, ideally in Somalia, is as critical as the options for the prosecution,” he states.  That was particularly so given the large numbers of suspects apprehended by naval States.  The report says the imprisonment requirement by the end of 2011 could be as high as 2,000 persons.

The options include a Somali court sitting in the territory of a third State in the region, with or without United Nations participation; a special chamber within the national jurisdiction of a State or States in the region, with United Nations participation or one without; a regional tribunal on the basis of a multilateral agreement among regional States, with United Nations participation; an international tribunal on the basis of an agreement between a State in the region and the United Nations; or an international tribunal established by Security Council resolution under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.  The report discusses the advantages and disadvantages of each and includes a section on existing practices of the United Nations in establishing tribunals, including for Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone, Lebanon and Cambodia.

The Secretary-General concludes that helping Somalia and its region develop capacity over the long-term to prosecute and imprison international standards would be crucial for fighting impunity.  He stresses that any new judicial mechanism would address a different situation than that addressed by existing United Nations tribunals:  it would face ongoing criminal activity and potentially a large caseload, with no predictable completion date.  States must show sufficient political and financial commitment to set up and sustain substantive results of such a mechanism.

Statements

BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations, joined in the condemnation of yesterday’s deadly attack on the Muna Hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia, saying it was a sad but pointed reminder of the collective responsibility to support the Somali Government in bringing stability to the war-torn nation.  Surveying continuing incidents of piracy, he said in the past seven months, there had been 139 piracy-related incidents on the coast of Somalia and 30 ships had been hijacked, and 17 ships and 450 seafarers were being held for ransom.  He welcomed international efforts and continued Security Council engagement.  Over the past three years, concerted efforts had been made, including establishing a Contact Group and deploying significant naval assets but more needed to be done, in particular strengthening existing legal regimes so that the fight against piracy in international waters was effective.

Laying out the proposals contained in his report, he stressed that achieving results – whether through a new or existing judicial mechanisms — would require “political and financial commitment from Member States”.  The mechanism would have to have the capacity and resources to prosecute a large number of suspects, while ensuring due process.  In addition, a host State would need to be identified and adequate arrangements for transferring a large number of convicted to third States for their imprisonment.  It was to further explore those issues that he intended to appoint a Special Adviser on Legal Issues Related to Piracy off the Coast of Somalia.

He welcomed strides already made in strengthening the capacity of Kenya, Seychelles and other States in the region to respond to piracy, as well as indications from the United Republic of Tanzania and Mauritius that they would contribute to the effort and investigations and prosecutions in 11 Member States.  He commended programmes developed on the issue by UNDP and UNODC, which depended heavily on partnerships with the African Union, the European Commission, International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

He also thanked the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and the regional authorities of Somaliland and Puntland for their technical cooperation on counter-piracy, saying that such initiatives should be integrated into overall efforts to boost Somali-based solutions to the problem.  He expressed gratitude as well to all Member States that had contributed to the Trust Fund of the Contact Group on Piracy, and he called on the international community to remember that reducing and eliminating piracy in the region meant a sustained response not only at sea, but also on land in favour of peace and stability in Somalia.

He then turned to the recent “savage rape and assault” on at least 154 civilians in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Surveying efforts to strengthen efforts to protect civilians, he asked what more could be done “to protect civilians from such wanton violations of international human rights and humanitarian law”, stating that the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) did what it could within its mandate, working with limited resources in an exceptionally difficult environment.

In that context, he announced that he was dispatching Assistant Secretary-General Atul Khare to work with Special Representative Roger Meece and report back, and that he had asked his Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallström to lead the United Nations response.  He also requested that the Security Council seriously consider what more could be done to prevent further such appalling crimes.

PATRICIA O’BRIEN, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, introduced the Secretary-General’s report (document S/2010/394) on the matter, saying he had painted a “very clear and stark picture” of the situation off the Somali coast and wider implications of piracy in the region.  The Secretary-General had consistently advocated for the international community to counter piracy and had taken every opportunity to maintain momentum.  He had dispatched Ms. O’Brien in March 2009 to discuss the issue with Kenyan authorities and United Nations offices on the ground.  He had strongly supported the informal meeting of the General Assembly on piracy in May, and he ensured that piracy was an important part of the discussion at the United Nations Istanbul Conference on Somalia in May.

The human cost of piracy was incalculable and the commercial cost was also very high, she said.  The number and diversity of States and organizations with a stake in finding a solution were strong evidence of that.  The Secretary-General’s seven options were a “very timely and important basis for Security Council consideration”.  Input had been given by her Office, the UNODC, the UNDP and other United Nations offices, and had taken into account United Nations practices in setting up and assisting criminal tribunals.

She then described the international legal framework applicable to piracy, saying the framework for repressing piracy was set out in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.  Other instruments, such as the 1988 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, could also be relevant since some elements of pirate acts could constitute offences under them.  In the context of Somalia, the legal regime was complemented by several Council resolutions.  The Djibouti Code of Conduct on repressing piracy and armed robbery against ships in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden was important for cooperation among regional States.  Piracy was a crime that could only be committed on the high seas or in the Exclusive Economic Zone of a State.

The Convention on the Law of the Sea and customary international law provided for universal jurisdiction over acts of piracy, she said.  All States were entitled to take criminal jurisdiction over acts of piracy, and no connection between a prosecuting State and the act of piracy was required.  Any State could seize a pirate shop or a ship under the control of pirates, arrest the suspects and prosecute them.  Crimes of armed robbery at sea or armed robbery against ships had the same elements as piracy, but were committed within the territorial sea of a State, and were generally within the jurisdiction only of a territorial State.  That regime, however, had been modified to an extent with respect to piracy within the territorial sea of Somalia by a series of Council resolutions.

In the absence of a host State for a potential judicial mechanism, the Secretary-General’s report analysed the options generally, she said.  Assessing their feasibility would require dialogue with an identified host State to determine its wishes and needs, and what form of participation the United Nations could most effectively take.  The first option was already ongoing through the work of the UNODC, UNDP and others to assist prosecutions and imprisonments in regional States.

The second option drew on the example of the Lockerbie Court, she said.  It would involve creation of a Somali court applying Somali law, sitting in the territory of another regional States, and would need assistance from UNODC and others.  She warned however, that the Somali judicial system faced several challenges, making that option one for the future rather than the present.  Options 3 and 4 involved chambers embedded in a national jurisdiction and option 5 would consist of a regional tribunal, not embedded in a national jurisdiction.  Option 6 would be a tribunal along the lines of Sierra Leone and Lesotho and option 7 would be an international tribunal established under Chapter VII of the Charter.

She said any of the options involving creation of a new judicial mechanism with United Nations participation would require a mandate for the Secretary-General.  Such a mandate was usually given in the form of a Council resolution requesting the Secretary-General to negotiate a suitable agreement with the State concerned.

ELMI AHMED DUALE ( Somalia) thanked the Secretary-General, the members of the Security Council and the international community in general for their engagement with his country, as well as for the sympathy expressed over yesterday’s deadly attack on the Muna Hotel in Mogadishu.

LI BAODONG ( China) said that international cooperation in fighting piracy was beginning to bear fruit, but pirates were now changing their tactics and continuing their crimes.  He supported further cooperation to eradicate the problem, particularly in the area of prosecution under the framework of existing international law and the engagement of regional States, with international assistance to increase their legal capacity.  To end the problem in a sustainable way, however, he affirmed it was necessary to promote stability and Government control in Somalia.

In that context, he supported continued African peacekeeping and exploration of the possibility of a United Nations force in Somalia, as well as measures to improve social and economic conditions there.  Regional cooperation should also be increased, and the arms embargo and related measures should be enforced, he said.

SUSAN RICE ( United States) said that ultimately only security and stability in Somalia could finally put an end to piracy off the coast of Somalia, while she commended international efforts to suppress it and protect vulnerable ships and affirmed the need to strengthen capacity for prosecution of suspected pirates.  She said that the Secretary-General’s report provided balanced proposals in that regard and pledged her country’s continued engagement on the issue, including its participation in the Contact Group.

She agreed that sufficient arrangements for imprisonment of convicts was particularly important and welcomed the appointment of Jacques Lang as the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General.  She affirmed continued support for the Djibouti Peace Process and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), condemning yesterday’s attack in Mogadishu.

TSUNEO NISHIDA ( Japan) said piracy off the coast of Somalia continued to be of serious concern despite the international community’s high-level engagement.  It threatened regional stability, prevented safe maritime transport and threatened the peoples and properties of many countries, including Japan.  To address it comprehensively, it was essential to ensure prosecution of suspected pirates and support the various anti-piracy activities of Member States and organizations.  He highly commended the efforts by Somalia’s Federal Transitional Government and the Governments of Kenya and the Seychelles.  The Secretary-General’s report was a good foundation to further consider how to ensure protection of those engaged in Somali piracy.  As piracy was subjected to universal jurisdiction, it was appropriate for coastal States to prosecute pirates and to strengthen the ability of coastal States to prosecute acts of piracy.

Japan approached cautiously the idea of creating a new tribunal, considering the time and resources needed to do so, and the fact that incarceration, extradition and provision of evidence must be considered, he said.  He was committed to further discussions on that idea in various forums.  Countering piracy was a high priority for Japan and it had been actively contributing to anti-piracy efforts.  It had deployed two self-defence force vessels, two P3-C maritime-patrolling aircraft, and it had participated actively in discussions of the Contact Group since its inception.  Japan also passed an anti-piracy law that criminalized piracy domestically.  Japan had contributed $13.6 million to the IMO to set up a training centre in Djibouti and three information-sharing centres in Yemen, Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania.  It had given $500,000 to the Trust Fund.  Since 2007, it had provided Somalia with $122.4 million for the security sector, humanitarian aid and rehabilitation of public infrastructure.

NAWAF SALAM ( Lebanon) supported the Djibouti peace process and stressed the importance of a comprehensive solution to the situation in Somalia.  He expressed concern over the acts of violence carried out by rebels and his condolences for those killed yesterday due a terrorist act in Mogadishu.  Piracy was a threat to humanitarian work and workers, and he lauded efforts to find solutions to end piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast.  He called on the United Nations and donor States to help strengthen national capacity to end piracy.  He called for also remaining open to other options to combat piracy that were presented in the Secretary-General’s report.  It was crucial to address the root causes of piracy, notably the lack of security and stability in Somalia.  Any successful approach would need to support institution-building, particularly of the coast guard in Somalia.  He lauded the Secretary-General’s decision to appoint a Special Adviser.

CLAUDE HELLER ( Mexico) said adoption of Council resolution 1918 (2010) and today’s presidential statement were a strong step by the Council to combat piracy.  The Secretary-General’s report was balanced and comprehensive.  The options identified constituted a broad range of possibilities.  He fully supported the first option to strengthen the Somali legal system to prosecute and imprison pirates.  It would very broadly benefit the rule of law in Somalia and regional stability.  It would provide for a long-term vision to address local needs and it could contribute to a durable solution.  The objective must be to give Somali institutions the capacity to try cases of armed robbery committed in their territorial seas.  The first option involved an existing mechanism that had already proved successful and it would not require starting from scratch.  Its financial costs were moderate, an important consideration during today’s difficult economic times.

He stressed the importance of distinguishing between piracy and armed robbery, particularly in applicable judicial frameworks.  Paragraphs 39 of the Secretary-General’s report showed beyond doubt that the issue at hand for the Council was international crime.  Armed robbery, on the other hand, was within the jurisdiction of coastal States.  He shared the concern over transferring and imprisoning people suspected and convicted of such crimes.  It was necessary to bolster international and regional cooperation, enter into transfer agreements and build capacity in Somalia and the region in terms of imprisonments.  Financing of a judicial mechanism was also a challenge.  Shipping companies should contribute funds to support States’ efforts to counter piracy.  An integral regional approach to address the root causes of piracy and armed robbery was needed, as was an inclusive domestic political process to achieve the minimum conditions for peace and stability.  He condemned the recent massive violations against women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Impunity could not be accepted in such cases.  The Council should give due consideration to that grave situation.

RUHAKANA RUGUNDA ( Uganda) said that piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia were symptoms of the strife in Somalia, pointing at yesterday’s attack in Mogadishu and reiterating support to the Transitional Federal Government and the people of the country.  Somalia must not be a breeding ground for criminality and extremism, he stressed, commending all participants in international efforts to combat piracy and adding that the Secretary-General’s report provided a good basis for a discussion of how to strengthen prosecution of suspected pirates.

He noted that countries in the region, including his own, had hosted refugees from Somalia and contributed to the fight against piracy.  In that context, he stressed that any proposals that required more contributions from such countries should include means of support.  In addition, he said that any options to better pursue the prosecution of pirates should strengthen existing legal regimes, and that more resources were needed to improve conditions in Somalia, stressing that those opposed to the peace process must be dealt with firmly and that the problems of Somalia were not just African problems, but had international import.

IVAN BARBALIĆ (Bosnia and Herzegovina), aligning himself with the statement to be made by Belgium on behalf of the European Union, expressed continuing deep concern over piracy off the coast of Somalia and said that the options presented by the Secretary-General needed further consideration.  He reiterated full support to the Transitional Federal Government and the Djibouti Peace Process, concurring that stabilization of Somalia would significantly contribute to the eradication of piracy in the region and that the rule of law, institution-building and impunity there were issues that should be addressed as soon as possible.

He encouraged States in the region to continue their engagement on the issue, commending Kenya and the Seychelles.  He also welcomed international efforts to suppress piracy, including the work of the United Nations in assistance and capacity-building, saying that prison reform and construction of infrastructure were essential.  He supported the establishment of the international Trust Fund and encouraged all States to continue logistic and financial support to anti-piracy efforts.  He expressed hope that fighting the root causes of piracy would yield results through effective governance and creating new employment opportunities for the Somali people.

ERTUĞRUL APAKAN ( Turkey) deplored the illegal acts of piracy and had joined the multinational counter-piracy operations in the region.  It had contributed to the Combined Task Force 151 by allocating frigates since the Force’s inception.   Turkish naval forces had prevented several pirate attacks.  The Turkish Navy would again assume command of the Combined Task Force 151 as of 1 September.  Turkey fully supported the Contact Group and, as a founding member, actively participated in its work.  The Secretary-General’s report was a good basis for further studies on the matter.  All the options presented deserved thorough consideration.  He lauded the Secretary-General’s decision to appoint a Special Adviser.  It was important to find long-term solutions to prosecuting and imprisoning pirates.  The ideal solution was to enable Somali authorities to progressively assume more responsibility in prosecuting pirates, with the perspective of building prisons and supporting judicial processing.  He urged countries in the region to assume collective responsibility for combating piracy.  In that regard, he commended the ongoing efforts of Kenya and Seychelles.

Regardless of what option was chosen, the international community should continue to help build the capacity of the judicial and corrections system of Somalia and other States in the region to prosecute and imprison pirates, consistent with international human rights law and the Djibouti Code of Conduct.  He called for sustainable, reliable financial resources for any new judicial mechanism.  No willing host State could be expected to shoulder additional unreasonable financial burdens.  Funding from United Nations assessed contributions could be an option.  Creation of a new judicial mechanism could require patrolling naval States to enter into bilateral agreements to transfer suspects for prosecution.  To standardize that practice, the United Nation could prepare a draft multilateral agreement that set out the crimes and geographic limits on jurisdiction, as well as the individual obligations of the host and patrolling States on the transfer of suspects.

MARK LYALL GRANT ( United Kingdom) lauded the Secretary-General’s intention to appoint a Special Adviser.  He expressed grave concern over the threat of piracy and armed robbery at sea.  While the proportion of successful attacks continued to fall, the total number of attacks continued at a high level.  Pirates were willing to venture further out to sea to find prey.  That needed a long-term solution.  The Council’s shared interest and common vision on piracy must be turn into effective policy formulation.  The European Union’s Atalanta operation was a good effort, but a comprehensive approach was needed to address the root causes of piracy, which were on land.  Instability in Somalia must be addressed.  There must be support for the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia.  Yesterday’s attack in Mogadishu was a stark reminder of threats to it.  Prosecution and imprisonment of pirates was an important part of the solution.

The options in the Secretary-General’s report made a useful contribution, he said.  The best prospect for sustainable results would come from further enhancing the international community’s efforts to build the capacity of regional States.  Prosecution at the national level was important.  He expressed doubts about setting up new international or regional mechanisms.  Doing so could risk becoming a waste of resources for solutions that would not be sustainable or offer long-term benefit.  The UNODC and UNDP had already done good work helping to develop judicial and penal systems in Somalia, Kenya, Seychelles, Mauritius and Tanzania to prosecute pirates, within applicable international human rights standards.   Sustaining those efforts could help the region sustainably combat piracy.  He lauded Kenya’s efforts and the agreement by the Seychelles to accept suspects for trial and detention.  States must be given adequate support by the international community.  The United Kingdom was ready to help signatories to the Djibouti Code of Conduct enact legislation on piracy prosecution.

MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI ( Brazil) welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposals in his report and his appointment of a Special Adviser on legal issues involved in piracy off the coast of Somalia.  It was crucial to help bring stability to Somalia to decrease the criminality occurring off its coast.  Meanwhile, it was important to ensure that pirates did not enjoy impunity.  She welcomed the engagement of States in the region in prosecuting suspected pirates, as well as the international support given to them.

She said it was crucial to improve processes for transmitting evidence in order to prosecute piracy cases.  It was also important to address the impunity of those most responsible for crimes at sea, such as heads of piracy operations.  Focusing on foot soldiers would not be enough to dismantle pirate organizations.  Targeted sanctions, intelligence and other measures should be prioritized for that purpose.  She stressed that piracy was a symptom and “without restoring peace and ensuring an effective Government in Somalia, we will only be alleviating symptoms, rather than tackling the underlying problem”.

NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE ( France) said pirates posed a constant menace to the transportation of humanitarian aid to Somalis, as well as to the supply to AMISOM.  The causes of such a situation must be researched on the ground.  In the medium term, lack of security and development would provide reasons for piracy.  Pursuing resolute military action offshore from Somalia, however, was essential.  Since 2008, the Council had laid the legal framework to counter pirates and the European Union had deployed the first naval operation in its history off Somalia’s coast.  Stressing that the legal aspect of the struggle against piracy was essential, he said that, while piracy was defined in a unique way, the State’s legal tools for combating it were very different, rendering cooperation difficult.

Indeed, the common objective was to reinforce Somalia and create conditions for Somalis to try and imprison pirates, he said.  In the short term, he anticipated that States in the region would conclude transfer agreements, following the example of Kenya and the Seychelles.  In the medium term, the creation of an offshore Somali chamber depended on better conditions in the future.  That discussion must continue.  Noting that the Secretary-General’s report underscored the importance of imprisoning pirates, he also expressed hope that the work of UNDP in Puntland would quickly succeed.

RAFF BUKUN-OLU WOLE ONEMOLA ( Nigeria) condemned yesterday’s attack in Mogadishu.  Instability in Somalia was the result of a fragile governance structure and a dearth of socio-economic resources, which created fertile ground for piracy to thrive.  The Transitional Federal Government in Somalia was working under the weight of multiple challenges.  He commended the efforts of the Contact Group, the European Union’s Atalanta Operation and others to combat piracy.  Together, they had significantly helped to reduce pirate attacks.  Despite those good efforts, piracy threats had not been eliminated.  Pirates had extended their geographic reach.  That showed that more must be done to combat piracy and address its root causes, such as unemployment and economic disenfranchisement.  The international community must join hands to reverse that trend and put Somalia on the path to sustainability and self-sufficiency.  It must make efforts to establish the rule of law and apprehend criminals and bring them to justice.  The effort of Kenya and Seychelles were laudable, but they faced resource limitations.  In some cases, suspects were released due to the failure to find States willing to bring them to trial.

While the ideal outcome in terms of ownership and participation was creation of a court of Somali jurisdiction in foreign territory, it must remain a long-term rather than a near-term goal, he said.  The United Nations should play an active role as a matter of priority to address the problem and consider international cooperation as a first step to increase efficiencies associated with the transfer of pirates.  He was encouraged that the United Republic of Tanzania, Mauritius and Maldives were considering undertaking prosecutions, and expressed hope that other States further afield would follow suit.  While an international tribunal was, in principle, a sound idea, the serious question of funding and jurisdiction must be addressed through effective solutions.  Each of the last four options presented in the Secretary-General’s report showed the promise of a judicial framework.  They ensured that United Nations participation would send a strong message of unity to deal with pirates.  Detailed consideration of their costs and funding was needed.

CHRISTIAN EBNER ( Austria) strongly condemned yesterday’s attack in Mogadishu and the abhorrent crimes recently committed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Piracy and armed robbery at sea were directly linked to the lack of stability and the disastrous economic situation in Somalia.  A comprehensive strategy in the Horn of Africa could only be sustainable if it addressed the root causes of piracy.  Improvement to peoples’ livelihoods was important for effectively eradicating piracy.  The European Union supported training of Somali security forces and the AMISOM.  The efforts of the European Union’s Atalanta operation had also helped end piracy at sea.

The Secretary-General report and the conclusions of Working Group 2 on legal issues provided a thorough basis for short, medium-term and long-term solutions, he said.  Applicable international human rights law must be an essential aspect of those considerations.  He lauded UNODC’s contributions to countering piracy in the Horn of Africa through its programme to detain and prosecute pirates, as well as that of the International Trust Fund.  Several issues still needed to be clarified.  A potential host country must be found, and arrangements for imprisonment must be determined.  He lauded the Secretary-General’s intention to appoint a Special Adviser.  While focusing attention on possible solutions, it was necessary to also pay attention to the fight against impunity in Somalia.  Massive violation of human rights were now committed in Somalia with impunity.  That must end.

ALFRED MOUNGARA MOUSSOTSI ( Gabon) voiced his condemnation of yesterday’s attack in Mogadishu and supported the presidential statement read out during the meeting as part of the effort of establishing an inclusive judicial regimen against piracy.  In that context, he supported the establishment of judicial mechanisms under the aegis of the United Nations, and welcomed the coordinated efforts made by the international community to fight the scourge.

He said that, however, the fight against piracy should be part of a global strategy to settle the crisis of instability and insecurity in Somalia through a more concerted effort by the international community, one that paid greater attention to building institutional capacity, so that Somalis could enforce the rule of law in their country and off their coasts.   In that context, more support should be provided to the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS), he contended.

VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation), speaking in his national capacity, said that, despite the many international efforts undertaken, Somalia remained unstable, requiring a comprehensive approach to support the Transitional Federal Government.  Fighting piracy was an important part of those efforts, and improvement of the legal means of prosecuting pirates was crucial in that effort.  He said that the proposals of the Secretary-General and his legal advisers in that area were a good basis for discussion, and building local capacity was an important element.

He said that, although some suspected pirates had been prosecuted, many more had escaped justice, including key figures and masterminds.  That gap must be addressed, he stressed.  Investments in building capacity in Kenya had borne fruit, but the region as a whole needed increased partnership to bolster the capacity of law enforcement systems.  Other options should be kept on the agenda and compared to the achievements of existing mechanisms.  Most effective, he suggested, might be the establishment of an international mechanism at the regional level to complement national systems.  He urged the international community to keep its focus on the issue.

ERIK LAURSEN ( Denmark) said the international community must work together to end impunity for pirates.  Prosecution of pirates ensured justice broadly, and for seafarers who had been victims of it.  Despite progress in prosecuting pirates, thanks to the effective work of the Contact Group, statistics showed that almost 60 per cent of the pirates apprehended or disrupted by warships in the region were not prosecuted.  In other words, there was still work to accomplish.  As Chair of the Contact Group’s Working Group 2 on legal issues, Denmark looked forward to cooperating closely with all partners, including the Secretariat and the special adviser, and it would invite that adviser to participate in the Working Group’s October meeting.  He agreed with the outlined solutions in the Secretary-General’s report on prosecution of pirates and was pleased that the outcome of the Working Group’s discussions was duly reflected in it.

Thus far, the Working Group’s discussions showed a preference for a possible mechanism in which existing court chambers in one or more States in the region were specifically charged with prosecuting pirates and had extensive financial and personnel support from other countries and organizations, he said.  It was important to commend the readiness and efforts of States in the region to prosecute piracy suspects.  But other States, including those in the region, must realize they had a strong interest in facilitating the prosecution of pirates.  All States had to take the steps necessary to ensure national legislation allowed jurisdiction over Somali pirates — and then actually prosecute pirates, especially the flag States of commercial vessels.  He added that many constraints hampering national prosecution would also apply to any internationally supported prosecution mechanism and they must be addressed regardless of the mechanism chosen.

BASO SANGQU ( South Africa) said piracy around Somalia’s coast was a symptom of a broader challenge, which could only be effectively addressed in the context of “finding peace and security inland”.  A holistic and durable solution could be achieved by extending the authority of the Transitional Federal Government and supporting the Djibouti Peace Process and AMISOM, with a United Nations peacekeeping force eventually taking over from the African Union forces.  Noting that pirates had invoked illegal fishing and dumping of toxic waste in Somali waters as justification for their actions, he said that all Member States and international corporations must desist from such practices.

While it was welcome that the international community had invested millions of dollars in establishing a naval presence in and around Somali waters, he said, it was also important to invest in policing and coast guard capacity for the Transitional Federal Government and to prohibit the payment of ransom to pirates.  In that regard, he advocated a focus on the generation of employment opportunities for coastal villages, as part of the combination of political, socio-economic and security strategies needed to deal with the problem of piracy in a comprehensive way.

TINE MORCH SMITH ( Norway) said every twentieth ship passing through the Gulf of Aden was Norwegian-owned.  Norway was severely affected by piracy off the Somali coast and it was actively engaged in all relevant international forums to fight it.  Norway valued African leadership and supported African solutions.  She lauded the Governments of Kenya and Seychelles for their leading roles thus far, and efforts of other States to follow suit.  Impunity for piracy sent the wrong signal to pirates and their bosses.  “It is simply unacceptable that suspects are released when there is sufficient evidence against them, as this undermines the credibility and effectiveness of the naval presence,” she said.  Pirates must be brought to justice in line with widely recognized principles of due process and applicable human rights.  Ideally, Somalia should prosecute and imprison its own pirates.  Domestic efforts towards that end should be encouraged.

But, as extradition to Somalia was not an option yet, there must be well-functioning, alternative mechanisms for prosecuting pirates with sufficient capacity, she said.  Prosecution and incarceration should take place in the region where the piracy was committed, due to their preventive and deterring effects; cultural, linguistic and family considerations; and the cost-effective and practical aspect of proximity for transfer by patrolling naval States.  Option 1 was the most favourable.  It would promote burden-sharing between affected States in the region, develop the region’s justice sector and prevent creation of a two-tiered system where pirates were treated differently from other criminals.  She strongly supported financial burden-sharing.  Norway had already contributed half a million euros to the Trust Fund.  In response to the Secretary-General’s call, it would immediately double that contribution.  She encouraged all affected States to follow suit.  Trust Fund money should be spent mainly on capacity-building in the justice sector in States in the region that accepted pirates for prosecution, as well as on projects in other States in the region that announced their willingness to prosecute pirates.

YEVHENII TSYMBALIUK ( Ukraine) welcomed the Council’s actions to counter piracy off the coast of Somalia.  As a member of the Contact Group, he said it was highly important to his country that the work of the Group be taken into account in discussions on judicial mechanisms to prosecute piracy.  He supported the enhancement of United Nations assistance to build the capacity of regional States to prosecute and imprison suspected pirates.  His country stood ready to actively participate in further efforts in that regard.  He noted that several of his country’s proposals on the issue had already been implemented.

He commended those States that had amended their domestic law in order to criminalize piracy and facilitate its prosecution consistent with international human rights law.  The lack of an international legal agreement on how to prosecute Somali pirates undermined the effort to eradicate piracy in the region, however, and for that reason, he said, his country intended to submit a draft comprehensive convention on combating piracy and armed robbery at sea during the sixty-fifth session of the General Assembly.

ZACHARY MUBURI-MUITA ( Kenya) said that piracy was “rapidly mutating into a many-headed monster”, which had a negative impact on the economies of the region and affected tourism, terrorism, money-laundering and many other areas.  A more holistic and coordinated approach was needed, he contended, informed by the principle of fairness and shared international responsibility.  In that context, he commended the work of the Contact Group and the establishment of the Trust Fund.  He advocated a focus on Somali coastal areas where pirates set out to sea, as well as a uniform policy on ransom payment.

He said that the current prosecution arrangements that had seen pirates handed over and tried in Kenya and its neighbouring States placed a heavy burden on those countries and were clearly untenable in the long run.  Better processes and mechanisms were urgently needed, he stressed, welcoming consideration of the options presented by the Secretary-General.  He affirmed that Somali piracy would not be eradicated until stability took hold in the country itself, and he assured the Council of Kenya’s firm commitment to all regional and international efforts to address piracy of the coast of Somalia and find sustainable peace in that country.

PETER SCHWAIGER, Deputy Head of Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, said the European Union was fully committed to fighting piracy off the Somali coast in the framework of a comprehensive strategy where the ownership of regional States was crucial.  The European Union High Representative visited the region in May to confirm European Union support for counter-piracy solutions.  The European Union supported the first regional Workshop on Piracy for Eastern and Southern Africa in July, which showed real regional solidarity and emerging ownership.  The European Union would proactively support implementation of the regional piracy strategy and action plan expected to be presented by regional countries in October in Mauritius, during the second Ministerial Meeting.

The European Union was providing assistance to Kenya since May 2009 and to Seychelles since early 2010 to cope with the extra demands on their judicial systems due to receiving and prosecuting transferred piracy suspects, he said.  It would continue to support other piracy-affected States in the region in developing judicial capacity as envisaged in the Djibouti Code of Conduct.  To help Somali authorities progressively take on more responsibility in prosecuting pirates, the European Union specifically supported the judicial process and the rebuilding of prisons as part of a wider response programme financed by the European Union in the rule of law and security.  The European Union was working on regional maritime capacity-building in close coordination with the IMO and other international partners to help regional coastal States better respond to piracy and armed robbery.

He urged countries in the region to assume collective responsibility for combating piracy.  A sustainable solution should also include measures to ensure that those who planned, organized and financed piracy were brought to justice.  The options in the Secretary-General’s report needed further consideration.  Operation Atalanta had been successful in implementing its mandate.  But such naval operations and subsequent prosecution and detention of captured pirates were only one aspect to fighting piracy.  More attention must be paid to comprehensive solutions to the root causes of Somali piracy.

LIM YOON BOON ( Singapore) said no single State on its own had the necessary capabilities to solve the complex security challenges faced today.  International and regional cooperation were necessary.  As a major maritime State, Singapore shared the international community’s concern over the situation in the Gulf of Aden.  He fully supported ongoing efforts by the United Nations and the IMO to address piracy.  Singapore actively participated in the Contact Group.  It had deployed military assets under Combined Task Force 151, to help patrol the Gulf of Aden.  Singapore took command of Combined Task Force 151 from 20 January to 21 April.  It would also deploy a Fokker 50 maritime patrol aircraft later this year to help surveillance operations in the Gulf of Aden.

Such efforts showed Singapore’s continued strong commitment to help ensure the security of key sea lanes, he said.  Seaward operations by various countries had helped to deter piracy in the Gulf of Aden, but a permanent solution would not be possible without addressing issues on land, such as the prosecution and imprisonment of captured pirates.  In that regard, the Secretary-General’s report on options for prosecution and imprisonment was timely.  The international community should study which of the options was the most practical, cost-effective and time-effective to implement.  Discussions should not preclude the complementary nature of international and regional approaches to piracy prosecution, as well as continued efforts to build capacity of States in the Gulf of Aden region to prosecute and imprison pirates.

RONALD JUMEAU ( Seychelles) informed the Security Council that on 26 July, the Seychelles Supreme Court convicted 11 Somali pirates, sentencing each of them to 10 years in prison.  Another 29 suspected pirates were awaiting trial.  Along with its hosting of international meetings on the problem, those prosecutions underscored, he said, his country’s determination to play a proactive role in combating, arresting, prosecuting and imprisoning pirates, and to provide an example that, as in Kenya, piracy could be tackled through domestic legislation where there was political will and courage to do so.

He expressed deep gratitude to partner organizations and countries who had responded to his country’s initiatives with offers of support in the form of technical assistance, training, infrastructure building and provision of funding.  He called for generous support to the regional plan of action, which he said would encourage more countries in and around the Indian Ocean to play a more active role in countering piracy.  He pointed out that, as the monsoon seas die down, there would once again be an upsurge in pirate activity.  Seychelles had used the lull in pirate activity to show that a lot could be done to combat piracy in the region itself within the boundaries of domestic law, if there was the political will and commitment to do so, accompanied by the necessary international support and solidarity.

JUSTIN SERUHERE (United Republic of Tanzania) said that piracy off the coast of Somalia was of great concern to his country, but it was an international problem that demanded a coordinated approach that included political, military, financial and legal support to the region.  The root cause — the absence of a functioning Government in Somalia – also needed to be addressed.  Sustaining peace and stability on land in Somalia and re-establishing an effective Government were essential for a long-term solution to piracy.

He said that the prosecution of suspected pirates must also be ensured and in his country the criminal codes had been amended to allow courts to do so under universal jurisdiction.  He called upon the international community to enhance the capacity of States in the region in that area, as well as to accept to share post-prosecution custodial responsibilities.  He welcomed the options proposed by the Secretary-General to further strengthen judicial mechanisms to counter piracy, contending that a combination of approaches should be applied through shared responsibility and United Nations mechanisms.

ANUPAM RAY ( India) said India was committed to fully supporting international anti-piracy efforts.  Its naval ship deployed in the Gulf of Aden had successfully thwarted several piracy attempts and provided security escorts to merchant marines in those waters.  India was a founding member of the Contact Group.  The number of pirate attacks continued to be high, although their rate of success had declined.  Pirates had widened their reach and increased pirate activity had been witnessed in the larger Indian Ocean area outside the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor.  He called for better coordination of international efforts for escorting merchant ships and patrolling the region, preferably under the aegis of the United Nations.  Several approaches, such as recourse to bilateral memorandums of understanding with countries in the region for prosecution and incarceration, had not been entirely successful, because they lacked capacity and resources to prosecute and incarcerate.  Legal issues of jurisdiction also existed.

No effort for prosecuting and imprisoning pirates could succeed without the effective involvement of States in the region, he said.  Imprisonment of convicted persons could best be addressed by building prison infrastructure in the region, ideally in Somalia.  It was important to ensure sustained, predictable financing for host States to handle the financial burden of prosecuting and imprisoning convicts over long durations.  Option 4 of the Secretary-General’s report, of creating a special chamber within the national jurisdiction of a State or States in the region with United Nations participation, could be suitable.  It could be dovetailed into ongoing assistance programmes of the United Nations extended to regional States to build capacity for prosecution and imprisonment of pirates.  That approach would be cost-effective and relatively easy to implement, because it would utilize existing jurisdiction with established crimes and procedures.  Regional proximity would be useful for transferring suspects by patrolling naval States and those convicted to third States for imprisonment.

CARLOS SORRETA ( Philippines) said 46 ships with Filipinos as crew had been taken by pirates.  Almost 500 Filipino seafarers had been held hostage.  Many had suffered prolonged captivity, some as long as 10 months.  The security, protection and welfare of Filipino seafarers were a primary concern of his Government.  The Philippines was a prime source of international seafarers.  Filipinos were on almost every merchant vessel and formed the backbone on international crew on transoceanic ships.  To fight piracy, broader cooperation was essential.  The Philippine Government worked closely with ship principals and manning agencies to secure the safe release of Filipino seafarers.  It met regularly with ship owners and operators to discuss and implement efforts to protect the crew and the ships that plied pirate-infested waters.  It had reinforced safety and precautionary measures, as well as crisis management training for Filipino seafarers on vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden.

The Philippines was keen to improve cooperation to prosecute Somali pirates he said.  Last year, it made available four Filipino seafarers as witnesses in a piracy trial against captured Somali pirates in Kenya.  Notwithstanding the strong recommendation to adopt the Best Management Practices developed by the International Chamber of Shipping and the International Shipping Federation to deter piracy off the Somali coast and Gulf of Aden, 30 per cent of the world’s fleet continued to disregard it.  Shipping companies that refused to adopt the Practices should be identified, in order to allow Governments like the Philippines to adopt appropriate measures if and when its citizens were recruited as crew of vessels operated by those companies.  At present, 81 Filipino seafarers remained in the clutches of Somali pirates.

PALITHA KOHONA (Sri Lanka) welcomed the Secretary-General’s options for ensuring that suspected pirates were brought to justice and maintained that it was important for the international community to share experiences and responsibilities, through imprisonment in third countries and capacity-building in the States concerned.  In general, he said, a collective and more dedicated international effort must be made to deal with piracy and ensure that the global community was rid of the problem.

At the national level, in addition to deploying naval deterrence, anti-piracy laws needed to be strengthened and strenuously implemented at both the domestic and international levels.  Having successfully countered seaborne terrorism, his country advocated on-board security teams on merchant vessels as a visible deterrent that could react immediately to attacks.  He said that the United Nations should have a lead role in such efforts in improving sea security.  He stressed that the dense shipping lane south of Dondra Head in Sri Lanka had been free of any piracy, in spite of heavy traffic in the area over the past 28 years.  Sri Lanka stood ready to share its expertise and personnel that have kept that vital sea lane safe for international shipping.

SHIN BOO-NAM (Republic of Korea) said that, as one of the world’s largest flag States, his country had been one of the most ardent members of the international coalition against Somali pirates, but he feared that the situation was worsening, noting that even now five innocent Korean seamen were being held hostage after their oil tanker was kidnapped last April.  He maintained that the Secretary-General’s options to better prosecute suspected pirates deserved serious consideration, but it was also crucial to build capacity in Somalia’s judicial system from a mid-to-long-term perspective.

He commended international efforts to combat piracy and noted that his country took command of the Combined Task Force last April and was presently coordinating an operation to disrupt piracy in the Gulf of Aden, in addition to supporting capacity-building in Somalia and neighbouring countries through United Nations programmes and chairing the Contact Group this coming November.  He expressed hope that the issue of piracy, though complex, could be addressed by rallying the firm and resolute commitment of the international community.

TÉTE ANTÓNIO, Permanent Observer for the African Union to the United Nations, said following the international community’s efforts in 2008, the International Maritime Bureau reported a drop in pirate attacks globally.  Attacks in the Gulf of Aden fell by 61 per cent in the first half of 2010 to 33, versus 86 in 2009.  But attacks off the coast of Somalia and the Indian Ocean had increased from 44 in 2009 to 51 so far this year, with 27 ships hijacked and 544 crew taken hostage.  Piracy was only one symptom of the broader challenge of peace and security off the Somali coast and the Horn of Africa region, as a whole.  The African Union had continuously advocated that the international community engage comprehensively to address the situation sustainably, and it had begun a process for maritime security in Africa as a whole.

The Commission of the African Union’s Workshop on Maritime Security and Safety, held in April in Addis Ababa, reviewed the challenges facing Africa in terms of maritime security and safety, and focused on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, the dumping of toxic wastes, arms and drug trafficking, human trafficking, oil bunkering, piracy and armed robbery at sea, among other issues, he said.  At its fifteenth session in July in Kampala, the Assembly of the African Union urged the Commission to adopt a comprehensive response to piracy, including creation of a continental strategy for managing the continent’s maritime domain, with the involvement of the emerging African Standby Force in order to promote maritime security and safety.  Participants also renewed their call for holding within the United Nations framework a conference to develop an international convention on piracy, as set forth in the Tripoli Plan of Action.

Also during that session, the Assembly of the African Union adopted the African Maritime Transport Charter, which contained important provisions on maritime and port safety and security, he said.  He called on the United Nations and its international partners to support its implementation.  The Commission was actively promoting its ratification and development of a plan of action to implement it.  In observing 2010 as the Year of Peace and Security on the Continent, under the general slogan “Make Peace Happen”, the African Union sought to reinforce and highlight actions in that regard, as well as celebrate the historic contributions and successes of peacemaking on the continent.  He called on the Council to fully support the Year.

Ms. O’BRIEN, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, thanked all involved in the issue for their work and said she looked forward to the further consideration of the options identified by the Secretary-General, pledging that her Office stood ready to assist in any way it could.

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*     The 6373rd Meeting was closed.

For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.