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Dutch courts to try pirates now held in Denmark

Dutch courts to try pirates now held in Denmark

The Dutch government agreed Thursday to prosecute five suspected pirates captured by the Danish navy off the coast of Somalia, and called on European countries to ensure all arrested pirates face justice.
A Danish naval vessel seized the men in the Gulf of Aden on Jan. 2 after receiving a distress call from a Netherlands Antilles-registered freighter, which fended off the pirates with signal flares until a Danish ship arrived and sank the attacking vessel.
Dutch Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin reached an extradition agreement with his Danish counterpart during a brief meeting outside an informal gathering of European justice ministers in Prague, Czech Republic, said his spokesman Wim van der Weegen.
Ballin later urged his colleagues to tighten cooperation on prosecutions, saying it is the responsibility of the country whose ship is attacked to put captured pirates on trial, Van der Weegen said.
"Impunity is not the right message we want to send to these criminals," Van der Weegen said.
Last month the U.N. Security Council authorized nations to conduct land and air attacks on pirate bases on the lawless coast of Somalia on the Horn of Africa.
So far, few pirates have been jailed for crimes on the high seas, said Pottengal Mukundan, director of the Commercial Crimes Services of the International Maritime Bureau in London.
In 2006, Kenya sentenced 10 Somali pirates to seven years imprisonment each after they were captured by a U.S. destroyer aboard an Indian vessel they had seized. Eight more pirates arrested last month by a British warship went before a Kenyan court in Mombasa on Wednesday.
France is holding pirates arrested in two attacks on French vessels. They are awaiting trial. India also has handed over 11 Somali pirates to Yemen.
Mukundan welcomed the Dutch readiness to extradite the pirates in Danish custody. "Many of the flag states have not shown any willingness to try these pirates," he said.
Van Der Weegen said the Dutch prosecutor's office was drawing up charges against the five suspects, who likely will be tried for piracy, which is a crime against humanity under international law. It was unclear when they would be handed over.
Pirates attacked more than 100 ships last year, and 11 are still in their hands along with 210 crew members.
The Dutch navy is due to send its own frigate with a crew of 170 to the Gulf of Aden in March to protect shipments of food and other humanitarian aid to Somalia.


Updated : 2021-05-10 15:55 GMT+08:00