Piracy

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Political Motivation and Piracy: What History Doesn’t Teach Us About Law

I’ve been meaning to write for some time on the debate caused earlier this year by the ninth circuit of the US Federal Court decision in Institute of Cetacean Research v Sea Shepherd. Somewhat controversially it held that political protesters, if they crossed the line into violent protest, could commit piracy. The point is controversial because piracy is defined under the Geneva Convention on the high seas and the UN Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as being an act of violence committed on the high seas by a private vessel against another vessel “for private ends”, a requirement often taken to exclude “political ends”. The decision has drawn different reactions in the international law blogosphere. Eugene Kontorovich thinks the court got it right (acts not sanctioned by a State are private); Kevin Jon Heller is convinced that the court got it wrong (politically motivated acts are not private).* Whenever debates about the meaning of words in the treaty law definition of piracy break out, academics are irresistibly drawn…

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More Great Piracy Facts in U.S. Courts: Private Ends Edition

 Jon Bellish is a Project Officer at the Oceans Beyond Piracy project just outside Denver, Colorado, though the views expressed are solely those of the author. You can follow him on Twitter.  On Monday, the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion reversing the lower court and enjoining the Sea Shepherds of Whale Wars fame from…

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A Report on the Possibility of Future Somali Piracy Prosecutions in Mauritius

Milena Sterio is Associate Professor at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Much has been written about Somali piracy.  Academics on this forum, as well as others, have debated the best options for the prosecution of suspected Somali pirates.  Most pirates are detained by powerful navies…

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Drug trafficking at sea: no longer a crime of universal jurisdiction before US Courts?

Once again, a new maritime drug smuggling case raises interesting questions of international law and its implications for national prosecutions. Back in 2010 I blogged on Medvedyev: a European Court of Human Rights case finding that an ad hoc agreement between France and Cambodia was an insufficient legal basis for France to prosecute drug smuggler.

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

 Jon Bellish is a Project Officer at the Oceans Beyond Piracy project just outside Denver, Colorado, though the views expressed are solely those of the author. You can follow him on Twitter. On October 18, the Kenyan Court of Appeal in Nairobi handed down a pivotal decision in In re Mohamud…

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