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Security Council Adopts Resolution on Somali Pirates

The operative paragraphs of Security Council Resolution 1846 provide:
Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

1.  Reiterates that it condemns and deplores all acts of piracy and armed robbery against vessels in territorial waters and the high seas off the coast of Somalia;

2.  Expresses its concern over the finding contained in the 20 November 2008 report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia that escalating ransom payments are fuelling the growth of piracy off the coast of Somalia;

3.  Welcomes the efforts of the International Maritime Organization (“IMO”) to update its guidance and recommendations to the shipping industry and to Governments for preventing and suppressing piracy and armed robbery at sea and to provide this guidance as soon as practicable to all Member States and to the international shipping community operating off the coast of Somalia;

4.  Calls upon States, in cooperation with the shipping industry, the insurance industry and the IMO, to issue to ships entitled to fly their flag appropriate advice and guidance on avoidance, evasion, and defensive techniques and measures to take if under the threat of attack or attack when sailing in the waters off the coast of Somalia;

5.  Further calls upon States and interested organizations, including the IMO, to provide technical assistance to Somalia and nearby coastal States upon their request to enhance the capacity of these States to ensure coastal and maritime security, including combating piracy and armed robbery at sea off the Somali and nearby coastlines;

6.  Welcomes initiatives by Canada, Denmark, France, India, the Netherlands, the Russian Federation, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and by regional and international organizations to counter piracy off the coast of Somalia pursuant to resolutions 1814 (2008), 1816 (2008) and 1838 (2008), the decision by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to counter piracy off the Somalia coast, including by escorting vessels of the WFP, and in particular the decision by the EU on 10 November 2008 to launch, for a period of 12 months from
December 2008, a naval operation to protect WFP maritime convoys bringing humanitarian assistance to Somalia and other vulnerable ships, and to repress acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia;

7.  Calls upon States and regional organizations to coordinate, including by sharing information through bilateral channels or the United Nations, their efforts to deter acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia in cooperation with each other, the IMO, the international shipping community, flag States, and the TFG;

8.  Requests the Secretary-General to present to it a report, no later than three months after the adoption of this resolution, on ways to ensure the long-term security of international navigation off the coast of Somalia, including the long-term security of WFP maritime deliveries to Somalia and a possible coordination and leadership role for the United Nations in this regard to rally Member States and regional organizations to counter piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of
Somalia;

9.  Calls upon States and regional organizations that have the capacity to do so, to take part actively in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, in particular, consistent with this resolution and relevant international law, by deploying naval vessels and military aircraft, and through seizure and disposition of boats, vessels, arms and other related equipment used in
the commission of piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia, or for which there is reasonable ground for suspecting such use;

10.  Decides that for a period of 12 months from the date of this resolution States and regional organizations cooperating with the TFG in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, for which advance notification has been provided by the TFG to the Secretary-General, may:

(a)  Enter into the territorial waters of Somalia for the purpose of repressing acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea, in a manner consistent with such action permitted on the high seas with respect to piracy under relevant international law; and

(b)  Use, within the territorial waters of Somalia, in a manner consistent with such action permitted on the high seas with respect to piracy under relevant international law, all necessary means to repress acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea;

11.  Affirms that the authorizations provided in this resolution apply only with respect to the situation in Somalia and shall not affect the rights or obligations or responsibilities of Member States under international law, including any rights or obligations under the Convention, with respect to any other situation, and underscores in particular that this resolution shall not be considered as establishing
customary international law; and affirms further that such authorizations have been provided onlyfollowing the receipt of the 20 November letter conveying the consent of the TFG;

12.  Affirms that the measures imposed by paragraph 5 of resolution 733
(1992) and further elaborated upon by paragraphs 1 and 2 of resolution 1425 (2002)
do not apply to supplies of technical assistance to Somalia solely for the purposes
set out in paragraph 5 above which have been exempted from those measures in
accordance with the procedure set out in paragraphs 11 (b) and 12 of resolution
1772 (2007);
13.  Requests that cooperating States take appropriate steps to ensure that the activities they undertake pursuant to the authorization in paragraph 10 do not have the practical effect of denying or impairing the right of innocent passage to the ships of any third State;

14.  Calls upon all States, and in particular flag, port and coastal States, States of the nationality of victims and perpetrators of piracy and armed robbery, and other States with relevant jurisdiction under international law and national legislation, to cooperate in determining jurisdiction, and in the investigation and prosecution of persons responsible for acts of piracy and armed robbery off the
coast of Somalia, consistent with applicable international law including international human rights law, and to render assistance by, among other actions, providing disposition and logistics assistance with respect to persons under their jurisdiction and control, such victims and witnesses and persons detained as a result of operations conducted under this resolution;

15.  Notes that the 1988 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (“SUA Convention”) provides for parties to create criminal offences, establish jurisdiction, and accept delivery of persons responsible for or suspected of seizing or exercising control over a ship by force or threat thereof or any other form of intimidation; urges States parties to the SUA Convention to fully implement their obligations under said Convention and cooperate with the Secretary-General and the IMO to build judicial capacity for the successful prosecution of persons suspected of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia;

16.  Requests States and regional organizations cooperating with the TFG to inform the Security Council and the Secretary-General within nine months of the progress of actions undertaken in the exercise of the authority provided in paragraph 10 above;

17.  Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council within 11 months of adoption of this resolution on the implementation of this resolution and on the situation with respect to piracy and armed robbery in territorial waters and the high seas off the coast of Somalia;

18.  Requests the Secretary-General of the IMO to brief the Council on the basis of cases brought to his attention by the agreement of all affected coastal States, and duly taking into account the existing bilateral and regional cooperative arrangements, on the situation with respect to piracy and armed robbery;

19.  Expresses its intention to review the situation and consider, as appropriate, renewing the authority provided in paragraph 10 above for additional periods upon the request of the TFG;

20.  Decides to remain seized of the matter.

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Welcome! Who am I?



Anthony Clark Arend is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.