Saturday, May 23, 2009

Canada wants Kenya to prosecute Somali Pirates captured by Canadian Warships

Following critism by some in the international community for its decision to release pirate suspects rather than bringing them back to Canada for prosecution, Defense Minister Peter MacKay announced recently that Canada is actively seeking an agreement with Kenya to prosecute suspected Somali pirates arrested by Canadian warships.

HMCS Winnipeg, (pictured above in a DND handout)involved in an anti-pirate NATO mission called Operation Allied Protector, has stopped numerous attacks on commercial vessels off the coast of Somalia. It was credited with foiling a Somali pirate attack against the Maltese cargo ship MV Sea Pride in the Gulf of Aden last weekend.

While the The Criminal Code of Canada does allow Canada to prosecute anyone suspected of piracy, Ottawa has declined to follow in the steps of nations that are currently trying suspected Somali pirates. MacKay says he prefers striking an agreement with a country such as Kenya which has a long history of trying pirates. That and Kenya's proximity to the Gulf of Aden allows for a speedy transport of suspects and ensures better continuity of evidence according to Mackay."There are precedents in place that allow for countries like Canada to strike an agreement, an accord or memorandum that would allow for the arrest and then turning over of suspected pirates and evidence necessary to prosecute."

This decision makes perfect sense to me. The last thing Canadian taxpayers need is the cost of trying pirates from the other side of the Atlantic. Nor am I interested in having my tax dollars contribute to what would become an industry for defense attorneys. The Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper comes through with a conservative solution and I applaud him for it.

No comments: