In a blow to efforts to combat Somali pirates, a senior Kenyan judge said Tuesday that courts here have no power to prosecute crimes that took place outside Kenya’s territorial waters.
Terry Sewaqrd/MoD/Crown Copyright/Reuters
International efforts to prosecute Somali pirates have hit a major snag that could see nearly 70 suspected pirates walk free from prison.
In a landmark ruling Tuesday, a senior Kenyan judge said that courts here have no power to prosecute crimes that took place outside Kenya’s territorial waters.
Jurisdiction has also been cited by Western countries as a key reason why they can't try Somali pirates that their navies have captured during international anti-piracy missions. And, because war-ravaged Somalia has no functioning systems to carry out its own trials, neighboring Kenya has been leading international legal actions against pirates.
But Tuesday's ruling now throws that in doubt.
So far, international navies patrolling the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somalia have sent 136 pirates to Kenya for trial.