The State of the Private Ends Debate

Sea Shepherd

It has been both interesting and informative to watch the debate over the meaning of piracy’s “private ends” requirement unfold between Kevin Jon Heller and Eugene Kontorovich at Opinio Juris and The Volokh Conspiracy, respectively. Over a series of successive posts (here, here, here, here, and here), they began to home in on the real … Read more

Putting political convenience aside, pirates are rarely also terrorists

A few months ago, I wrote a post entitled Putting political convenience aside, pirates are simply not terrorists.  The piece argues that calls to treat all pirates as terrorists are totally unfounded, at least from a legal perspective. This is because, under international law, terrorism and piracy are accompanied by explicitly-defined, mutually exclusive motives. Although I … Read more

Critical Analysis: Global Piracy Still a Major Problem

News of global piracy has faded into the background of the international arena for some, but many countries are still dealing with it. While an international maritime anti-fraud agency has reported a 54 percent reduction in piracy attacks off the Somali coast, recent attacks show that piracy is still a major global problem. The same … Read more

After a Brief Hiatus, Kenya Once Again Has Universal Jurisdiction Over Pirates

On October 18, the Kenyan Court of Appeal in Nairobi handed down a pivotal decision in In re Mohamud Mohammed Hashi, et al. It held that Kenya has jurisdiction to try piracy suspects whose alleged acts occurred beyond the country’s territorial waters. Due to Kenya’s central role in the emerging global network of piracy prosecutions, the … Read more

Putting political convenience aside, pirates are simply not terrorists

While running through my piracy news roundup yesterday morning, I came across this piece by Robert Young Pelton of Somalia Report. In it, Pelton criticizes a report by Australia’s Lowy Institute that deals with the use of privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP). I took particular interest in a small tangent within Pelton’s piece that reflects an incorrect sentiment that … Read more

A Second Avenue to Assert Universal Jurisdiction Over Pirate Negotiators

In my previous post, I argued that the two pirate negotiators prosecuted by the United States – Mohammad Saaili Shibin and Ali Mohamed Ali – must have incited or intentionally facilitated piracy while on the high seas in order to have exposed themselves to prosecution by a court whose only basis for taking the case … Read more

A High Seas Requirement for Pirate Facilitators Under UNCLOS?

The economic conditions in Somalia are such that there is no shortage of men willing to hijack a ship, risking their lives in hopes of earning of the equivalent of 20 years of income – $5,000 in Somalia – out of a single $1.5 million ransom. That basic reality is the driving force of modern … Read more

United States’ First Universal Jurisdiction Prosecution for Piracy

On July 13, 2012, the U.S. Federal District Court for the District of Columbia handed down United States v. Ali Mohamed Ali.  This case is remarkable for several reasons: first, it is the first time the United States has used the principle of universal jurisdiction to prosecute a Somali pirate and second, the prosecution is … Read more

Maritime Piracy: Borrowing from Civil Aviation

Borrowing from Civil Aviation

Maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia continues to spiral into an increasingly threatening international crisis, with attacks in the Gulf of Aden increasing during the first half of 2011. While more states have been prosecuting pirates in their national courts during the last year, United Nations officials have indicated that as many as 90% … Read more

Maritime Piracy: Borrowing from Civil Aviation

Borrowing from Civil Aviation

Maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia continues to spiral into an increasingly threatening international crisis, with attacks in the Gulf of Aden increasing during the first half of 2011. While more states have been prosecuting pirates in their national courts during the last year, United Nations officials have indicated that as many as 90% … Read more