Pirates may be flown to Korea for punishment

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Pirates may be flown to Korea for punishment

The Korean ship rescued from Somali pirates on Friday is heading to a port in Muscat, the capital of Oman, and will arrive on Friday, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade official said yesterday.

The Samho Jewelry’s arrival could be advanced by one day if two issues - how to deal with the five captured pirates and the corpses of eight killed pirates - are resolved, the official said. There’s a high likelihood that the captured Somalis will be brought to Korea for trial.

The government initially considered sending the Samho Jewelry to Salalah, another Omani port, but decided to direct it to Muscat because it is easier for the crew to return to Korea from the capital, the official said.

The South Korean Navy destroyer Choi Young is escorting the 11,500-ton chemical carrier to protect it against revenge from other pirates, and Navy special forces have remained on the Samho Jewelry as guards.

Gunfire exchanged during the rescue damaged portions of the Samho Jewelry, including the deck, but the steering system and engine remained intact, the official said.

The crew is likely return to Korea as early as Saturday, Korean Ambassador to Oman Choi Jong-hyun told the JoongAng Ilbo. Another Foreign Ministry official said the five captured Somali pirates will likely be brought to Korea for punishment, rather than get sent to a third country.

“We are talking with some countries [near Somalia] about how to deal with the captured pirates, but the countries are reluctant to let them in, citing the possible impact on their relationships with Somalia and costs associated with detention and legal processes,” the official said.

Potential countries include Kenya, Yemen and Oman, the official said.

If the pirates are brought to Korea, they will be handed over to prosecutors or the Korea Coast Guard. The government has also started a review of legal procedures it might take. Law enforcement authorities will likely indict them using Article 105 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which is legally binding in Korea.

“Piracy is an issue where universal jurisdiction is applied,” said the official. “There will be no legal barriers to punish them because it is an international crime against the Korean people.”

By Chun Su-jin, Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]

Related Korean Article [중앙일보]

외교부 “생포된 해적, 국내서 재판 받을 것”
소말리아 해적 “앞으로 협상 없이 한국배 불태우고 인질 살해” 협박

소말리아 해적에게 피랍됐다 구출된 삼호주얼리호의 선원 21명 전원이 이르면 29일 귀국할 예정이라고 최종현 주오만대사가 23일 밝혔다. 최 대사는 본지와의 통화에서 “23일 현재 삼호주얼리호는 해적들의 보복공격 가능성에 대비해 최영함의 호위를 받으며 오만의 수도인 무스카트항으로 시속 13㎞로 운항 중”이라며 “선원들은 27일 무스카트항에 도착한 뒤 건강검진 등을 받고 29일 항공편으로 귀국하게 될 것”이라고 전했다.

정부는 당초 삼호주얼리호의 기착지로 오만 살랄라항을 검토했으나 수도인 무스카트항을 이용하면 귀국일정을 앞당길 수 있다는 판단을 내렸다고 당국자는 전했다.

*해적들 신병처리=해적 5명은 국내로 이송될 것으로 보인다. 외교통상부 관계자는 “한 나라가 생포한 해적의 신병을 제3국이 받아들인 경우는 국제적으로 거의 없다”며 “국내로 압송해 우리 사법 당국의 심판을 받게 할 것 같다”고 말했다. 이 관계자는 “케냐·오만 등 주변국과 협의는 하고 있지만 소말리아와의 양자 관계, 구금·사법처리 경비 부담 문제 등을 이유로 사양하고 있다”고 밝혔다. 또 “소말리아 해적의 일부가 알카에다로부터 무기를 공급받는 등 연계돼 있는 부분도 있어 주변국들의 부담이 더 크다”고 덧붙였다. …

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