Seychelles shares pirate prosecution model with West African countries |22 October 2015
The West African delegations during a meeting on Tuesday focusing on Seychelles’ pirate prosecution model
As a pioneer in modern piracy prosecution, Seychelles has got the opportunity to share its success story with other African countries wanting to learn from its experience.
This was demonstrated this week through the visit of a delegation of police, judiciary and military personnel from the West African countries of Ghana, Togo and Sao Tome and Principe.
The visit was organised by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) which is helping the three countries put into place what its regional Programme Officer for Maritime Crime Shanaka Jayasekara has qualified as the “Seychelles five-step model” in the fight against piracy. This includes arrest, handover, investigation, prosecution, incarceration and eventual transfer of the pirates to their country of origin.
Mr Jayasekara added that UNODC found it fit to bring in the delegations to familiarise themselves to the system in place and learn from Seychelles’ success and experience as the country which has in modern times prosecuted and incarcerated the highest number of pirates.
He stressed that Seychelles has made a name for itself in terms of anti-piracy elements like reliable forensic investigation, good judiciary system, effective prosecution and the Montagne Posée prison which has the capacity of maintaining United Nations’ standard.
“Seychelles now has a very well oiled system. We also have done a good job in East Africa. Now we must go to the other side of the continent and share the experience with those countries in order to curb the threat of piracy in that particular region,” he further stated.
Representatives of the three delegations have also confirmed that based on the model established by Seychelles, they are receiving UNODC help in the establishment of a regional and international partnership on piracy. These include a regional maritime force which has already been put into place with other countries like Nigeria, a regional anti-piracy centre in Benin and an international one in Cameroun added to established partnership with the European Union and the United States.
They insisted that even though piracy has not yet reached an alarming level in their region, they also have to fight against illegal fishing and other illicit activities.
They added that it is necessary to be proactive and take preventive actions before it is too late, especially due to the fact that most pirates chased from the Indian Ocean have moved to the Gulf of Guinea.
Hubert Bakai, the cabinet secretary from the Ministry of Oceans of Togo has said they will go back with the useful information obtained and apply what they have learned in terms of judiciary mechanism in piracy prosecution.
This he said will make sure that all the elements are brought together in order for pirates to be incarcerated.
Underlining that piracy is considered as a big issue for his tiny country of Sao Tome and Principe of which economy depends on importation, public prosecutor Kelve Nobre De Carvalho has on his side ensured that he will go back home and help reinforce his country’s legal institutions.
“We cannot afford that ships are attacked as this will affect our country’s economy,” he emphasised.
ASP Richard Odartey from the Marine Department of the Ghanaian Police also said it is important to learn from the Seychelles experience in order to protect his country’s economy.
“The economic benefits from our ports are too important and thus we cannot let us suffer from piracy. The way forward is prevention and Seychelles model is a perfect one to follow,” he stressed.
During their two-day stay, the delegations from West Africa have got the opportunity to visit the Supreme Court, the Montagne Posée prison and the Coast Guard base. They have also met the Minister for Home Affairs Charles Bastienne, Attorney General Rony Govinden and Police Commissioner Ernest Quatre.
They have expressed the wish to come back and study the international cooperation model and the operations of the regional antipiracy centre which is based here.