Kenya can try Somali pirates, Appeals Courts says

  • Kenya's Court of Appeal has ruled the country's courts have the authority to try Somali pirates caught in international waters.

    Thursday's ruling follows a 2010 Kenyan High Court judgement, which stated courts could only deal with offences that had taken place within the country's territory.

    In recent years, Somali piracy has heavily impacted shipping routes off the coast of East Africa.

    Navies from around the world already operate in the region to prevent pirates from attacking cargo ships.

    The development is expected to come as a relief to the international community, which had relied on nations like Kenya and the Seychelles to prosecute pirates.

    "Piracy has negative effects on the country's economy and any state, even if not directly affected by piracy must try and punish the offenders," judge David Maraga said after the ruling.

    In 2010, a judge terminated the prosecution of nine suspected Somali pirates on the basis that Kenyan courts did not have the jurisdiction to deal with them and repatriated them back to Somalia.

    Justice Maraga ordered that the men must now be transferred to the Kenyan port city of Mombasa for their trial to be resume.