Yesterday, Mr. Jack Lang, Special Adviser on Legal Issues related to Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, presented his report to the UN Security Council following the mission entrusted to him by the UN Secretary-General. He was recently received by the Ministre d’Etat; he thanked her for the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs’ continuous support.
This is a key issue for France, which is heavily involved in the European Union operation "Atalanta," launched in December 2008 under French presidency of the EU. This operation, which combines warships, maritime patrol aircraft, as well as response teams, has prompted similar initiatives by NATO (operation "Ocean Shield") and the establishment of coalition naval forces which are already operating in the area (operation "Combined Maritime Forces"). France was the first country to have ensured the protection, through military means, of World Food Program convoys destined for Somalia and is also the first country to have initiated operations to secure the release of vessels sailing under the French flag that had been taken by pirates, thus demonstrating its steadfast determination. We are therefore very concerned to note that the pirates arrested at sea are very often released.
The Special Adviser’s report underlines the full extent of the phenomenon and the urgent need to take action. It provides concrete solutions to the issue of sentencing and detaining the pirates operating off the coast of Somalia. He thus proposes supplementing Somali legislation on piracy, implementing a legal system that will include the establishment of a Somali extraterritorial jurisdiction court in Arusha and two special courts - one in Puntland and the other in Somaliland - and, finally, the construction of three prisons in Somaliland and Puntland.
These are realistic, long-term recommendations. They supplement the mechanisms to provide judicial and penitentiary cooperation which are already in effect in certain States in the region and for which international support should be strengthened.
France supports the Special Adviser’s proposals and calls for their swift implementation. It is now up to the Security Council to take up the report and to take action through the adoption of a resolution. France will actively support the efforts of the Council in this direction over the next few weeks.
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