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Cablegate: Seychelles Court for Regional Piracy Prosecution

VZCZCXRO5631
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHPL #0047 0481237
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 171237Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY PORT LOUIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4985
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 0010
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 0013
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RHPIGXW/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS PORT LOUIS 000047

SIPDIS

S/P FOR PHARRELL; L FOR JLANDSIDLE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KPIR EWWT PBTS SE SO
SUBJECT: SEYCHELLES COURT FOR REGIONAL PIRACY PROSECUTION

REF: PORT LOUIS 00043

1. Elements of the Seychelles government have begun
discussions with UN Working Group II (led by Thomas Winkler)
regarding the possibility of establishing in Seychelles a
regional court for the prosecution of piracy. Cabinet
officials have raised the issue in public, indicating that
the government would in principle be receptive to the
proposal, with the caveat that any Somali pirates convicted
by the court would be required to serve their sentences in
prisons outside Seychelles (preferably in Somalia).

2. A proposed amendment to the Seychelles Penal Code
(reftel) will facilitate piracy prosecutions under Seychelles
law. The new court building (under construction by the
Chinese and scheduled for completion by June, 2011) would
provide an ideal venue for the proposed regional court. In
addition, Commonwealth countries may provide judges to other
Commonwealth states through a simple swearing-in process,
thus allowing countries such as Mauritius, India, Uganda or
Canada to provide judges for a regional court in Seychelles
(thereby resolving "manpower" or expertise problems).

3. The sticking point, however, remains the absence at the
moment of any mechanism for transferring convicted pirates to
prisons outside Seychelles. UNODC is helping finance a
prison in Somaliland and a prison in Puntland, facilities
that may be available in 6-12 months.

4. In order to house suspected pirates before and during
trial, UNODC and the EU had proposed building a 40-bed
maximum security wing at the prison in Seychelles. That plan
is currently under review. A new plan suggests converting
the women's wing at the prison into a maximum security area
and building minimum security bungalows for the women (this
plan would be both cheaper and quicker).

5. COMMENT: If this regional court for the prosecution of
piracy is to become a reality, mechanisms for the transfer of
convicted Somali pirates to prisons outside Seychelles (and
ideally in parts of Somalia) are crucial. The simple fact is
that no country in the region (and particularly Seychelles)
wishes to be stuck housing convicted Somali pirates for
thirty years.
WALKLEY

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