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First transfer of a pirate for trial in Belgium

(BRUSSELS2) One of the seven pirates arrested by the Belgian frigate Louis-Marie at the end of November participated in the hijacking of the Belgian dragger Pompei from April to June 2009 (1). It should therefore be transferred to Belgium, under the new anti-piracy law (2). This is the first time that a piracy trial will take place in Belgium... since then.

We remember that, on November 29, the F931 frigate Louise-Marie, which is participating in the European anti-piracy operation Atalanta, spotted a suspicious boat nearby and apprehended 7 suspects in Kenyan territorial waters (3). In accordance with the new procedures put in place more than a year ago, legal and pirate identification procedures were directly undertaken. And the Belgian General Staff has just confirmed it: “Following the results of the identification process, we can confirm that one of the 7 pirates had indeed taken part in the hijacking of the Pompeii. Defense will soon use one of its planes to repatriate the pirate to Belgium.” At the Belgian level, it is the federal prosecutor's office which will have jurisdiction.

The other six suspects will be handed over to Kenyan authorities. Kenya having agreed to exercise its jurisdiction. The arrest having taken place in Kenyan territorial waters, it was quite logical. But the Belgian embassy in Nairobi was called upon to intervene with the authorities, in order to “speed up” the examination of the file.


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Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).