Legal Disputes

Somalia is not party to any of the relevant international treaties and does not have any modern domestic legislation directly applicable to piracy or environmental protection. However, the countries currently providing naval forces to combat piracy at sea off Somalia are parties to one or more of the relevant treaties. In addition, neighboring countries such as Kenya, Djibouti, Yemen and Tanzania are also parties to some or all of these treaties, and these countries have enacted the legislation necessary to implement one or more of the treaties.

In order to ensure that alleged pirates are brought to justice, it is important, in the short term, to increase the capacities of countries in the region to facilitate effective arrests at sea, the legal transfer of suspects, and investigation and prosecution of the crimes in jurisdictions that have the legislative and operational capacity to deal with them.
UNODC’s legal programme assist with the establishment of a regional system of ship riders as well as provide specific support to the criminal justice systems of neighboring countries such as Kenya, Djibouti, Yemen and Tanzania, in order to establish and strengthen the capacity of their criminal justice systems efficiently to investigate and prosecute piracy and related forms of crime. The programme will target the Kenyan, Djiboutian, Yemeni and Tanzanian criminal justice and law enforcement systems by focusing on four elements:

  • Strengthening of the legal framework, in particular, reviewing enabling legislation to facilitate maritime interdiction, actions of pursuit and arrest at sea and in territorial waters.
  • The conclusion of effective ship rider agreements between countries currently providing naval forces to combat piracy at sea off Somalia and selected countries in the region.
  • Mentoring support and training, including training on international cooperation mechanisms, to selected countries in order to assist them in receiving and bringing to justice alleged offenders.
  • Improving facilities to accommodate arrested offenders, the programme will ensure that security and human rights considerations are duly taken into account when dealing with suspect offenders, and support the cooperating countries in ensuring that relevant international standards are met.
Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.