Gov’t plans case against captured pirates

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Gov’t plans case against captured pirates

The Korean government plans to indict five Somali pirates captured in last week’s rescue of the Samho Jewlery in the Arabian Sea as early as next month after they’re brought here. Government officials said they could face up to life in prison.

According to the Justice Ministry and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade yesterday, officials are examining how to deal with the pirates legally, and it is highly likely they will be brought to Korea for trial.

“Related ministries are discussing the handling of the captured pirates,” a government official said. “We concluded that there’s nothing legally wrong to prosecute [the pirates] here.”

Under Korean law, the Korean government can punish foreigners who commit crimes against Koreans outside of Korea.

Article 105 of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea also states: “Every State may seize a pirate ship or aircraft, or a ship or aircraft taken by piracy and under the control of pirates, and arrest the persons and seize the property on board” on the high seas, or in any other place outside the jurisdiction of any state.

The UN law also states, “The courts of the State which carried out the seizure may decide upon the penalties to be imposed.”

Government officials expect the pirates to be flown to Korea, but disclosed no details yesterday.

Government officials suggested the Korea Coast Guard’s South Regional Headquarters will likely be in charge of the investigation of the hijacking since it’s the Coast Guard’s duty to oversee security at sea. The headquarters of Samho Shipping is also located in Busan.

The Coast Guard plans to set up an investigation headquarters at the South Regional Headquarters. Busan prosecutors are also scrutinizing cases from the past involving pirates.

By Kim Mi-ju []
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