Friday 12 December 2014

Prizes For Pirates

Lost in the surfeit of stories in the last few days was a choice item about the European Court of Human Rights awarding damages to Somali pirates who attacked French vessels.

In case you think this is an invention by deranged Kippers and other Eurosceptics it is not.

Quote from France 24:

The EU's top human rights court on Thursday ordered France to pay thousands of euros to Somali pirates who attacked French ships for "violating their rights" by holding them an additional 48 hours before taking them before a judge.

The Somali pirate were apprehended on the high seas by the French army on two separate occasions in 2008 and taken back to France for trial.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said that French authorities should have brought the pirates before a judge "without delay" when they arrived on French territory after being held at sea.

The EU’s top human rights court said French authorities were wrong to keep the pirates in custody for an additional 48 hours before bringing them before a judge.

"Nothing justifies such an additional delay," the court said in its verdict, adding that it constituted a "violation of their rights to freedom and security".

France was ordered to pay between €5,000 and €2,000 ($6,100 and $2,500) to each pirate for "moral damages", plus amounts varying from €3,000 to €9,000 ($3,700 and $11,200) to cover legal costs.

In the ruling, published in French, the court nevertheless acknowledged that there were "completely exceptional circumstances" to justify a lengthy detention before seeing a judge, noting that the original arrests took place "more than 6,000 kilometres (4,000 miles) from French territory".

Pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia have declined sharply in recent years, with international fleets now patrolling the Gulf of Aden – previously a hotbed of maritime piracy – and the Indian Ocean, as well as armed guards now being posted aboard many at-risk vessels.

At their peak in January 2011 Somali pirates held 736 hostages, some onshore and others aboard their vessels, as well as 32 seized boats.
The court also noted that the Somali authorities remain "incapable of fighting" the pirates without international help.


One wonders what will happen next.  Will the ECHR order the British Government to pay compensation to all the descendants of those who hanged at Execution Dock?

Given what the Somali pirates were given for a minor delay, the Chancellor of the Exchequer may find a big rise in the deficit.

Teams of lawyers should be trawling the case studies of all those done under the Game Laws of the past looking for potential claims as well.  If they are successful, I will be one of the big winners.

As for all the distant cousins whose forebears were transported to Australia and America what might be their claim?

They are suffering cruel and unusual punishment?


  1. I suppose French warships will now be harassed by Somali pirates keen to be caught.

  2. The Russians were rumored to have chained captured Somali pirates to the decks of their ship before sinking it. We don't now hear about Somalis harassing Russians.