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Germany Calls For International Court to Try Somali Pirates

As the German navy set sail Tuesday to take part in an EU-led anti-piracy mission off the Horn of Africa, Defense Minister Jung proposed an international court be set up to prosecute Somali pirates.

German navy

The German navy has joined the hunt for pirates off the Horn of Africa

As the German Navy frigate "Karlsruhe" set sail for Somalia Tuesday, Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung proposed an international court be set up to prosecute Somali pirates who have launched dozens of daring attacks on ships this year, threatening global trade in one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

Scores of vessels chugging through the Gulf of Aden or rounding the Horn of Africa this year have been attacked by Somali pirates this year. Pirates seized more than 200 ships this year alone -- often kidnapping crews -- and demanding millions of dollars in ransom.

The sharp rise in piracy in the waters off Somalia has forced both the EU and the US to rush their navies to the area to protect merchant shipping.

No "Guantanamo on the sea"

German Defense Minister Franz-Josef Jung

Jung visited the German navy in Djibouti this week

Since many of the pirates come from Somalia, which has been without a working government since the overthrow of military dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung said Tuesday that he believed suspected pirates should face an international court.

"It needs to be an international authority. No one wants a 'Guantanamo on the sea'," Jung told reporters in Djibouti, where he saw off 220 German troops joining the European Union (EU) anti-piracy mission known as "Atalanta".

German lawmakers agreed last week to send up to 1,400 soldiers and a frigate -- the Karlsruhe -- to the Gulf of Aden as part of the EU mission.

The mandate allows for pirates to be captured if necessary, and they could be kept on board temporarily before possibly being put on trial in Africa.

There have been around 95 pirate attacks in Somali waters this year. Nearly 400 people and 19 ships are currently being held along the Somali coast, including a Saudi supertanker loaded with $100 million worth of oil.

In October, French forces captured nine suspected pirates at sea and handed them over to Somali security forces.

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