Despite international efforts to end its practice, the problem of piracy on the oceans and seas continues. Piracy on the oceans and high seas creates a deterrent to development; delaying and disrupting activities in a region, diverting humanitarian aid intended for the poor and disadvantaged and, posing a threat to the energy supply routes of many countries. It has been estimated that the total annual cost of piracy annually is between US$7 billion and US$12 billion (Bowden, 2010). The cost of counter piracy efforts alone has been estimated to be US$2 billion (Hurlburt, 2011). The costs of piracy on the oceans and seas are high and they go beyond the financial realm and into human costs, which include stress caused by its related kidnappings. Yet, year after year pirate attacks continue. If naval missions are not deterring pirates (Percy and Shortland, 2013), then what can be done to solve the problem? One of the measures to counter piracy includes a strengthened legal enforcement . The rule of law and judicial consequences have been identified as one of the most complicated, yet central, issues in countering piracy. Also, the Contact Group off the Coast of Somalia has a working group dedicated to legal issues. Although there has been international commitment to promote maritime safety and to combat piracy, the international forces, for example, patrolling in the Gulf of Aden and the Western Indian Ocean, face enormous difficulties with regard to the prosecution of pirates. Some of these difficulties relate to determining appropriate jurisdiction and laws, evidentiary procedures and the cost of judicial consequences. These potential obstacles do not make it easy to discern where, how and by whom pirates should be prosecuted. As piracy is one of the more ancient crimes under international law, it might be concluded that all States are, in theory, competent to prosecute and to try perpetrators. In view of the financial and humanitarian costs of piracy, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) New York Office is organizing, with the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs (OLA), Division for Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea, a one day seminar on the international legal framework of piracy and its prosecution issues. Other United Nations agencies will also be participating in the seminar, such as the Department of Political Affairs, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Legal scholars, from the private law firms and academia will further contribute to the seminar. In addition, UNITAR’s UNOSAT will give a presentation on applications of satellite imagery, and how this may serve in legal proceedings.
At the end of this seminar, attendees will better understand: • The international legal framework regarding piracy, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); • The jurisdiction issues complicating prosecution • The concerns in prosecution • The international efforts to address prosecution
The seminar will take place from 10:00 to 1:00 and from 3:00 to 5:30 on Monday, 29 April in Conference Room A (CB) at United Nations Headquarters.
The programme will be based on panel discussions on the international legal framework, along with a focused discussion on prosecution concerns. The seminar will have a participatory approach, with presentations and discussions on the various topics on the agenda. Adequate time will be allocated for participants to interact with presenters.
The programme is open to members of permanent missions accredited to the United Nations. Priority will be given to diplomats who are in charge of the Sixth committee or who are covering piracy issues. Other members of the Contact Group are also invited, as well as interested members of International or government organizations.
Members of the Permanent Missions accredited to the United Nations in New York who wish to participate in this workshop are requested to register online at http://www.unitar.org/event/new-york. The course participation fee is 300 USD. Diplomats from low and middle income countries, based on the World Bank classification, are eligible to apply for a fellowship. If you wish to apply for a fellowship (fee-waiver), please contact the UNITAR New York Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) upon completion of online registration. UNITAR reserves the right to rescind an applicant's enrollment at any time in case of non-receipt of payment. All participants who successfully complete the workshop will receive a UNITAR Certificate of Completion