Law of the Sea

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The Hamburg Tribunal Heats Up? Is ITLOS now in Business?

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), which is based in Hamburg, is holding hearings this week in  advisory proceedings before that Tribunal. The case concerns Responsibilities and obligations of States sponsoring persons and entities with respect to activities in the International Seabed Area  and the request for the advisory opinion was submitted to the Seabed Disputes Chamber of ITLOS by the International Seabed Authority. The request represents the first advisory proceedings before ITLOS and the first case before the Seabed Disputes Chamber. The oral proceedings are the first before ITLOS in 3 years (the last being in 2007 and the last one before that was in 2004)! In 1991, Keith Highet who argued many cases before the International Court of Justice wrote a brief comment in the American Journal of International Law (Vol. 85, No. 4 (Oct., 1991), pp. 646-654) noting how the ICJ had become busier than ever in the years immediately following the Court’s judgment in Nicaragua case. The title of this piece is adapted from…

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UN Secretary General Sets Out Options for dealing with Piracy off Somalia

The United Nations Secretary General has recently submitted a report to the Security Council in which he sets out 7 options for dealing with piracy off the coast of Somalia. The incidence of piracy off the coast of Somalia continues to be very high. “7. … The number of attacks off the…

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Prosecuting pirates in national courts: US v Said and piracy under US law

On August 17, a US District Court handed down a fascinating piece of statutory interpretation that apparently means that unless a Somali pirate succeeds in stealing something, he cannot be charged with piracy under US law. There have been a number of national piracy trials taking place in Western States, notably in the US and the…

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Anti-Piracy Court Opens in Kenya

At the end of last week, Kenya opened a special court to try suspected pirates operating from Somalia in the Gulf of Aden (see BBC Report here and here) The Court, which is funded by a number of international organizations and States including the UN, the EU, Australia and Canada, is a significant step in the fight against piracy.

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Legal Issues Raised by Israel’s Blockade of Gaza (UPDATED)

In this post I simply want to direct readers to places where they can read about the legal issues raised by the Israeli blockade of Gaza and about Israel's attempt to enforce that blockade earlier this week. I am sure we will return to these matters on EJIL:Talk! in the next few days. Douglas Guilfoyle, who has written several…

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