01 May 2009

Outsourcing Dealing with Pirates

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The way we used to deal with pirates

Publius is feeling nostalgic.

Once upon a time pirates were killed at sea, in battle, or after a trial at sea. There was no danger of Blackbeard moving to Scarborough and collecting welfare payments. Certainly no need to outsource the punishing of individuals who have set themselves up outside of the order of civilized nations.

    Kenya is emerging as the venue of choice for piracy cases and an important piece of the worldwide crackdown on piracy. The spate of recent hijackings off Somalia’s coast has stiffened international resolve. Just a few months ago, foreign warships would catch suspected pirates cruising around in speedy skiffs with guns and ladders and then dump them back on the Somali beach because of sticky legal questions. Those days are just about gone.

    Now, the piracy suspects are getting a one-way ticket to Mombasa, a historic port town where Kenyan officials are all too eager to punish the seafaring thugs imperiling their vital shipping industry. Under recent, innovative agreements with the United States, Britain and the European Union, Kenya has promised to try piracy suspects apprehended by foreign navies. In return, the other countries have agreed to improve Kenya’s antiquated courts. Many Kenyan judges still wear wigs and take everything down by hand, making trials agonizingly slow.

There’s nothing wrong with wigs.

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