Homicide at Sea: Which Vessel is the Pirate in the Italy-India Conflict?

Italian Oil Tanker

  Some two dozen rounds of a powerful automatic gun are suddenly fired from one vessel on the high seas onto another. The latter is an unarmed Indian fishing boat with nets cast. Two fishermen are killed on deck, some eleven are asleep below deck and are injured. The vessel has some 16 bullets on … Read more

Prosecuting and Adjudicating Maritime Piracy Cases in the Seychelles

Join the University of Denver Sturm College of Law as we host a conversation with Puisne Judge Duncan Gaswaga, a judge with the Supreme Court of Seychelles.  When in 2010 Seychelles enacted a statute granting its courts universal jurisdiction over suspected pirates brought into the country, its courts have become a hub for piracy prosecutions   Coupled … Read more

On Pirates, PMSCs, and Signature Strikes

The media’s coverage of maritime piracy has changed markedly as of late. In 2010, stories characterized piracy as a ballooning problem with pirates’ changing tactics outpacing those of international navies. The result was a marked increase in attacks and hijackings. Today, however, stories are more likely to focus on diminished profits in the insurance industry, … Read more

Kiobel Oral Argument: Piracy May Spell Trouble for Shell

The Supreme Court opened up its October term with a healthy dose of international law in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell. The petitioner, Esther Kiobel, is bringing suit against Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) alleging that the oil company aided and abetted the Nigerian government in committing gross human rights violations in the oil rich Ogoni … Read more

The Tragedy of Universal Jurisdiction

Picture a medieval town, 110 acres in size and populated entirely by 10 cattle ranchers. Each rancher lives on a 1 acre parcel of land that together surround a 100 acre open space used for grazing cattle. If the 100 acre open space is shared by all 10 ranchers in common, each herder has a … Read more

Will the United States Play a Role in Prosecuting Pirate “Kingpins?”

Somalia has no trouble producing pirates. Between a central government that controls little beyond the capitol city of Mogadishu, an utter lack of economic opportunity for young men, and a 3,025 mile long coastline with access to the world’s busiest shipping corridors, for every Somali pirate captured at sea, there are many more waiting to … Read more

The Enrica Lexie and Unintentional Terrorism

Cross-posted at piracy-law.com An interesting exchange took place at the High Court of Kerala on Friday between presiding Justice PS Gopinathan and VJ Matthew, counsel for the owner of the Enrica Lexie. Regardless of the level of significance one attributes to Justice Gopinathan’s remarks, the dialogue sheds light on the tension and deep mistrust surrounding … Read more

Direct application of the international law of piracy in municipal systems

Cross-posted at piracy-law.com Most legal authorities assume that signing and ratifying the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is insufficient, in and of itself, to provide a state a jurisdictional basis to prosecute acts of piracy on the high seas.  For example, Jose Luis Jesus, the former President of the International Tribunal for the … Read more

Armed Maritime Security and the Enrica Lexie

A dramatic story of death at sea has recently ignited both the Indian and Italian press. The story has yet to reach the United States, but it has all the makings of a headline-maker. Two Italian military personnel, operating as armed guards aboard the merchant vessel Enrica Lexie, are being investigated for the murder of … Read more