Kenya won a quiet but significant victory over Somali pirates (pictured) that have waged a devastating campaign against its maritime economy when a judge at the Mombasa federal court formally charged eight Somali pirates with felonies under Kenyan law on Dec. 11. The eight men were captured by the British Royal Navy in November while trying to hijack a Danish merchant ship near the Yemeni coast.
The Dec. 11 hearing was brief. The defense requested more time to prepare, and the case was promptly deferred until January. But the fact that it wasn’t dismissed outright represents a major step forward for authorities struggling to build the institutional tools to combat piracy.