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

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

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

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