UNODC and piracy

Piracy Suspect HandoverThe UNODC counter-piracy programme (CPP) began in 2009 with a mandate to help one country - Kenya - deal with an increase of attacks by Somali pirates. That mandate has now widened and the UNODC CPP is working in six countries in the Somali Basin region-Kenya, Seychelles, Mauritius, Tanzania, Maldives and Somalia. The CPP has proved effective in supporting efforts to detain and prosecute piracy suspects according to international standards of rule of law and respect for human rights.

The CPP focuses on fair and efficient trials and imprisonment in regional centers, humane and secure imprisonment in Somalia, and fair and efficient trials in Somalia. The efforts of UNODC and its multilateral partners have had considerable success across the criminal justice sector. The CPP assists Kenya, Seychelles, Mauritius, Tanzania, Maldives with judicial, prosecutorial and police capacity building programmes as well as office equipment, law books and specialist coast guard equipment. The CPP is assisting Somalia with upgrading its prisons and courts with the aim of ensuring that Somali pirates convicted in other countries can serve their sentences in their home country. UNODC has already started this work by completing work on a new prison in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland and is currently constructing and refurbishing prisons in Puntland, Somalia.

UNODC's Counter Piracy Programme, now in its fourth year of operation, is continuing to support the criminal justice professionals of states in the region that are dealing with Somali piracy. The police, prosecutors, judges and prison staff of Kenya have worked to deliver 18 trials involving 147 suspects while their colleagues in Seychelles have 14 cases in progress involving 118 suspects. UNODC is pleased to be delivering training, equipment and logistical assistance to all stages of the progress to ensure that Kenya and Seychelles are able to meet their own high standards of fairness and efficiency. In March this year the first transfer of prisoners from a regional prosecuting state took place. Seventeen convicted pirates, arrested by the Seychelles Coast Guard and tried in the courts of Seychelles, volunteered to be transferred to a prison in Hargeisa, Somaliland which was constructed by and is mentored by UNODC. It was a significant achievement by Seychelles, Somaliland, Working Group II of the Contact Group on Piracy Off the Coast of Somalia and UNODC to get in place the infrastructure, the staff training, the laws and the logistical support to ensure that the transfer went smoothly. It is a template for the future: ensuring that regional states do not have to hold foreign prisoners in the long term and that Somali prisoners have access to their own culture, their families and appropriate skills training during their prison sentences. UNODC has supported transfers in Kenya and Seychelles by air and from the sea over the last 3 years and we are continually working to improve the support that we give to the international navies and local police forces.

UNODC Counter-Piracy Programme Brochure:

- March 2013 (PDF)