France Ordered to Pay Somali Pirates Thousands
The European Court of Human Rights announced its judgment in two Somali piracy cases versus France on Thursday, siding with the pirates. The court stated that the suspected pirates, apprehended in Somalia by the French authorities, should have been brought before a legal authority as soon as they arrived in France.
These two cases concerned nine Somali nationals, who, having hijacked French-registered vessels off the coast of Somalia were arrested and held by the French army, then transferred to France, where they were taken into police custody and prosecuted for acts of piracy.
The European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of rights to liberty and security. The applicants had been taken into custody for 48 hours on their arrival in France instead of being brought “promptly” before a legal authority, when they had already been deprived of their liberty for days.
The Court held that France had to pay to each of the applicants in one case 5,000 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage, and EUR 7,272.46 for costs and expenses. In the other case, France is to pay EUR 2,000 to each of the applicants in respect of non-pecuniary damage, and for costs and expenses, and up to EUR 9,000 per person.
All nine men were charged for acts of piracy committed in 2008 involving the hijacking a French-flagged cruise ship and yacht in separate incidents off the coast of Somalia.