G8 ministers have agreed to strengthen criminal justice systems in poor regions affected by piracy.
The lack of legal frameworks for the trial of pirate suspects has become a major obstacle to policing the dangerous shipping lanes off the Horn of Africa. Captured pirates represent a judicial headache for Western nations and representatives of the world’s eight industrial powers, meeting in Rome, were warned that in the case of pirates the legal position is similar to that of Guantanamo prisoners. Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said: “I’m against the idea that Italy or other EU countries would host Guantanamo’s prisoners. We should have a judicial framework to keep them in our prisons.” Fears were voiced that if pirates were tried in the West they would seek asylum. Then Italy came under fire for its punitive immigration rules. In response Roberto Maroni said: “What we have done is a part of our plan for fighting illegal immigration and we keep on doing that as it respects the international standards.” Italy has been panned by human rights groups for sending intercepted boats full of would-be migrants back to Libya. Some three thousand protesters held a demonstration outside the meeting. The issue will be high on the agenda of a European Union summit next week.