Netherlands proposes international anti-piracy tribunal

30th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

The Netherlands proposed Friday the creation of an international tribunal to try Somali pirates.

THE HAGUE - The Netherlands proposed Friday the creation of an international tribunal to try Somali pirates.

"The government submitted the proposal to a meeting of the International Piracy Contact Group in New York," Dutch foreign ministry spokesman Christoph Prommersberger told AFP.

The group met for the first time in January and consists of 24 nations including regional players, the African Union, the European Union, NATO and the United Nations.

"Hitherto, the group has spoken mainly about military action against the pirates," said a Dutch foreign ministry statement.

"The Netherlands also wants effective prosecution, trial and punishment."

The Netherlands recently had to free nine Somali suspected pirates detained in the Gulf of Aden by Dutch marines under NATO command because no legal framework existed within the military alliance to carry out arrests.

Friday's statement said a piracy tribunal should be set up in the region, and convicted pirates must serve their sentences there.

"The Netherlands will organise a gathering of international experts in The Hague in the beginning of June to work out the details for such a tribunal."

Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen has previously stated that the Netherlands, with its experience in international tribunals, could play a leading role in creating a special piracy court.

Dubbed the "legal capital of the world", the Netherlands hosts the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

Piracy watchdogs say there have been 114 attempted hijackings off the Somali coast so far in 2009, compared with 111 during all of 2008.

AFP / Expatica

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