A new EU naval task force will be unable to take tough action against Somali pirates because it must respect their human rights, its commander has admitted.
Modern European navies are now so mindful of the legal loopholes they face in tackling pirates that they often instruct commanders to simply let them go...the West fears that if the pirates were handed over to the Somali authorities they would be tortured or executed.
After deciding pirates would not be successfully prosecuted if brought back to Europe, the Danish navy set free a crew of ten in September, dropping them off on a Somali beach after holding them for six days. The Royal Navy admits, unofficially, that it is under similar instructions.
So far only the French have taken firm action, sending special forces troops to free their nationals and escape adding to the ransom payments worth $100 million (£62 million) a year to the heavily armed gangs.
Sometimes you have to admire the French...