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The U.S. has reached a memorandum of understanding with Kenya to prosecute Somali pirates.

“Because there is no legal system in Somalia,” said James Thou Gathii, a law professor at Albany Law School, “they were looking for neighboring countries to take up the slack because Somalia couldn’t do it.”

Ten Somali pirates captured by the U.S. Navy in 2006 were each sentenced to seven years in prison, said Mr. Gathii, who recently wrote a law review article about Kenyan courts handling these cases.