At a small federal courthouse in this sweltering port town late last week, the Kenyan legal system won a major victory in the international war on piracy. Eight suspected Somali pirates, captured by a British frigate while allegedly trying to hijack a Danish cargo vessel off the coast of Yemen in November, filed into a room full of lawyers, reporters and witnesses for a brief hearing, during which they were officially charged with piracy. There were no other major actions -- the case is being deferred until January -- but the very fact that a Kenyan court is hearing piracy cases is a big step.
Thursday's court date coincided with a formal deal between the U.K. and Kenya for the Royal Navy to bring captured pirates to Mombasa. The Royal Navy has assumed command of a new European Union anti-piracy force that on Sunday kicked off its first mission, escorting a food ship to Mogadishu.
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