Piracy at sea has in recent years reappeared as a growing conundrum for the stability and safety of international trade. The Council of Europe attempts to address this endemic problem in two recently adopted documents. First, its Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) has on 28 April 2010 adopted Resolution 1722 entitled piracy – a crime and a challenge for democracies. The resolution derives from an earlier report drafted by Mrs Birgen Keleş (Socialist Group). The Resolution 1722 calls on COE member states to:
15.1. modernise and develop a common and more relevant domestic legal framework in order to criminalise the act of piracy wherever it takes place and ensure prosecution in Council of Europe member states, or introduce appropriate legislation where it does not exist; 15.2. introduce legal provisions to allow the apprehension, transfer and prosecution of pirate suspects apprehended in Somali territorial waters or on Somali territory, pursuant to Resolution 1851 (2008) of the United Nations Security Council; 15.3. draw up rules on the treatment of pirate suspects while on board their military ships, ensuring full compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights and other relevant international human rights instruments; 15.4. step up international co-operation and agree on clear rules for identifying the state responsible for prosecution of pirate suspects; 15.5. seek appropriate ways in which the existing international legal framework can be adapted to face current needs of policing at sea and consider creating, provided all existing disadvantages in this field are removed, a special mechanism (international or with international participation) for the prosecution of persons suspected of piracy.
On the same day, the PACE adopted Recommendation 1913 (2010) on the necessity to take additional international legal steps to deal with sea piracy. The Recommendation 1913 stems from an earlier report drafted by Mr. S. Holovaty (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe). It has recommended to:
3.1. conduct an in-depth study on member states’ practice in dealing with suspected pirates and the state of national criminal law concerning the repression and prosecution of acts of piracy; 3.2. prepare, according to existing international guidelines, a code of conduct on how to deal with suspected pirates in full compliance with international human rights standards in order to ensure the harmonisation of national criminal legislation on the subject of combating sea piracy; 3.3. promote the conclusion of international agreements clearly specifying state responsibility for the prosecution of pirates and the elaboration of common procedures to be followed for this purpose; 3.4. seek appropriate ways in which the existing international legal framework can be adapted to face current needs of policing at sea and consider creating, provided all existing disadvantages in this field are removed, a special mechanism (international or with international participation) for the prosecution of persons suspected of piracy.