Piracy at the Security Council; Eminent Persons on LDCs Appointed, and more from today at the UN


Somalia: this morning the Security Council held an open debate on legal responses to piracy off of the coast of Somalia, in which the SG reported that in the past seven months there have been 139 piracy-related incidents and 30 hijacked ships, while 17 ships and 450 sailors are currently being held at ransom.  In response, he proposed seven legal mechanisms to bring perpetrators to justice: 1) build regional State capacity to prosecute and imprison perpetrators; 2) locate a Somali court in a third country and apply Somali law; 3 & 4) assist a regional State/States to establish special chambers within their national court system; 5) establish a regional tribunal (involving regional States & the AU); 6) create an international “hybrid” tribunal; and 7) establish a full international tribunal under Ch. VII.  In order to more fully explore these options and related issues, he announced his intention to appoint a Special Adviser on Legal Issues Related to Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, which, though yet to be confirmed, is rumored to be Jack Lang.  As a sign of progress, however, the SG did note that in the past 18 months almost 600 Somali men have been prosecuted or convicted as a result of investigations by 11 States.   In her statement, Ambassador Rice commended the SG for his report and analysis of the seven legal options, and concluded by stating that piracy will not be resolved until Somalia is stabilized and, in this regard, the U.S. strongly supports the Djibouti Peace Process and Transitional Federal Government.  The debate concluded with the reading of a Presidential Statement.  (Note, as of yesterday Japan has a new Perm Rep, H.E. Mr. Tsuneo Nishida, who is replacing Ambassador Takasu, who held the position since 2007) 

DRC: the mass rape of women and children in the DRC has continued to receive strong international condemnation, and UNICEF’s Anthony Lake and Secretary Clinton have now both issued statements. 

UN-HABITAT: this morning the GA elected Joan Clos of Spain as Executive Director of UN-Habitat for a four year term beginning October 18.

Eminent Persons on LDCs: today the SG appointed a Group of Eminent Persons on Least Developed Countries, to advise on international support to LDCs in advance of the 4th UN Conference on LDCs, scheduled to take place in Istanbul from May 30-June 3, 2011.  The membership of the 10-member group, which will be co-chaired by Alpha Oumar Konaré (former President of Mali) and Jacques Delors (former President of the EC) and includes former President of the World Bank James Wolfensohn, can be found here