The signatories were the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Dr Arvin Boolell, for the Mauritian side, and the Minister of Justice of the Transitional Federal Government of the Republic of Somalia, Mr Ahmed Abdullahi Husein, and the Minister of Maritime Transport, Ports and Counter Piracy of Puntland State of Somalia, Mr Saeed Farah Mohamed.
The transfer of convicted pirates to Somalia is a key element among a set of initiatives to counter piracy efforts. The intention is for convicted pirates to be transferred back to serve their remaining sentence in their homeland after having been prosecuted in Mauritius.
It is recalled that in July 2011, an Agreement was signed between Mauritius and the EU for the transfer of suspected pirates to Mauritius for investigation, prosecution, trial and detention in Mauritius. Arrangements are underway to accept one or two batches of suspected pirates as from the beginning of June 2012, pending the construction of a new prison block and a new court room on a plot of land adjoining the Beau Bassin Central Prison, to be financed by the UNDOC and the EU respectively.
Consequently, negotiations were held with the Transitional Federal Government of the Republic of Somalia and the Puntland State of Somalia with a view to finalising an agreement on the transfer of sentenced pirates from Mauritius to Somalia.
The present Agreement: ‘Political will has prevailed’
‘Political will has prevailed and resources have converged together’, Dr Boolell said in his statement at the signature ceremony on 25 May 2012. “Thanks to the support obtained from senior officials we can not only record progress but we can say loud and clear to all our friends, especially from the African Union and countries which have coastal States, that not only have we shown the political will and way but we are fully committed to wage war on the scourge of piracy which has become acute’, he stressed.
According to the Minister, it is important to ensure that the problem is addressed inland, that is, in Somalia. With the support of like-minded friends and dialogue partners, the EU and multilateral organisations such as the UN, tremendous progress has been noted, observed Dr Boolell. It is also essential to live up to the expectations of the people of Somalia, he added.
For their part, both the Minister of Justice of the Transitional Federal Government of the Republic of Somalia, Mr Ahmed Abdullahi Husein, and the Minister of Maritime Transport, Ports and Counter Piracy of Puntland State of Somalia, Mr Saeed Farah Mohamed, expressed their appreciation to the Government of Mauritius and highlighted the importance of the Agreement signed. They expressed their will to collaborate in implementing the Agreement.
A delegation from the Republic of Somaliland was also scheduled to participate in the negotiations. However the delegation could not come as scheduled. Mauritius is pursuing negotiations with the Somaliland in view to finalising a Memorandum of Understanding soon.
The costs of repatriation of convicted pirates to Somali would be borne by the UNDOC under its Piracy Prisoner Transfer Programme.