Law of the Sea

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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 coast of Somalia has steadily increased since 1991, and over the past two years has increased from 111 vessels attacked in 2008 to 217 vessels attacked in 2009. . .  There were 30 attacks during the first quarter of 2010. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the pirates operate from around 70 camps on beaches on the Somali coast, which is approximately 1,800 miles long. Their methods have become increasingly sophisticated, indicating greater planning, financing and organization. . . . 8. While the number of attacks remains high, increased naval patrols off the Horn of Africa and in the Gulf of Aden have effectively reduced the success rate of these attacks. In…

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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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ECHR Rights at Sea: Medvedyev and others v. France

Dr Douglas Guilfoyle is a Lecturer in Law at University College London.  His research has focussed on the law of the sea and international and transanational criminal law. His book Shipping Interdiction and the Law of the Sea was published by Cambridge University Press in 2009. His previous EJIL Talk! posts can be found by clicking on…

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