25 January 2011 - Security Council - Somalia - Statement by M. Gerard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
I thank Special Adviser to the Secretary-General Mr. Jack Lang for his report (S/2011/30) and proposals, Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Mr. Mathias for his support for those proposals, and the Permanent Representative of Somalia for his statement.
Not only is piracy is a threat to international peace and security, but, as the report presented to us today underscores, the phenomenon is growing. The means of the pirates are becoming increasingly sophisticated, as Mr. Lang explained, the number of attacks is increasing, and the geographical area affected continues to expand.
Faced with that phenomenon, the international community must act. The Security Council has facilitated the establishment of a legal framework for the deployment of a large fleet of vessels at sea. However, we have seen that the military tool is not sufficient. Suppression must be complemented by a legal and judicial arrangement whereby pirates arrested by vessels at sea can be tried and imprisoned in appropriate conditions. Today, 9 of 10 pirates are released owing to the lack of capacity for judicial and correctional action.
In that regard, we welcome the Secretary- General’s report (S/2010/394), drawn up pursuant to resolution 1918 (2010). That report sets out the various possible options to find a solution to the legal aspects of the fight against piracy. It is now time to take a decision.
In examining those proposals, we have identified several criteria that we believe to be priority. First, we must find a solution forthwith. Mr. Lang’s report underscores the urgency of that requirement. Next, we must find a realistic solution. We must keep in mind the most cost-effective and beneficial option in the report. Lastly, we must find a lasting solution that Somalia can ultimately own and perpetuate.
It is from that perspective that we considered Mr. Lang’s report and all 25 proposals identified therein. In the legal sphere, the avenues proposed by the report are clear. To address legal shortcomings, the report proposes updating Somali legislation on piracy in order to strengthen the criminalization and jurisdictional treatment of pirates. To prosecute the growing number of pirates more quickly, it proposes the establishment of system based on an extraterritorial Somali court located in Arusha, Tanzania, and two specialized courts, one in Somaliland and one in Puntland. Lastly, to address the glaring lack of correctional infrastructure, the report suggests building three prisons in Somaliland and Puntland.
Those proposals respond to the urgency of the situation. They can be operational in less than a year. Those proposals are realistic. Their cost is estimated at $25 million, which is low in relation to the overall cost of piracy, estimated today at $7 billion. Finally, those proposals seem to us sustainable because they closely associate Somalia not only with capacity-building in the regions of Puntland and Somaliland, but also with the establishment of a court that, although located in Tanzania, would be above all a Somali court.
The report is pragmatic because it proposes that those new avenues complement the jurisdictional and correctional components already operating in a number of States of the region and for which international support could be increased.
The Secretary-General and his Special Adviser have devoted much time and effort to proposing options to the Security Council to change the paradigm in the Indian Ocean. It is now up to the Security Council to turn those proposals into action. To that end,
France encourages the start of negotiations on a draft resolution of the Security Council reflecting the most relevant recommendations in Mr. Lang’s report.
It is of capital importance that the implementation of any decision we may take be followed up. The Lang report proposes that such follow-up be undertaken by an experienced figure. In order to ensure the best possible coordination of action on land and at sea and the integration of United Nations action in Somalia, we might consider entrusting the mission to follow up the proposals to a Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General working with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Mr. Augustine Mahiga.
Lastly, I recall the importance of securing funding to implement the proposals we recommend. Mr. Lang stresses that a relevant instrument — the Trust Fund of the Contact Group on Piracy — already exists. Its purpose is to strengthen the judicial and correctional capacities of the countries of the region. It is up to the international community as a whole, as well as to private individuals and bodies involved in the fight against piracy, to contribute to that instrument. In order to bolster the Trust Fund, France supports in principle the convening of an international donors’ conference once the Security Council has finished its work.