- Combating piracy off the coast of Somalia: current legal challenges
- Netherlands International Law Review
- Volume | Issue number
- 56 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Law (FdR)
- Amsterdam Center for International Law (ACIL)
The ongoing maritime operations against piracy off the coast of Somalia have not only put naval enforcement against piracy at sea in the spotlight, but also the legal aftermath of what to do with pirates after their capture. While warships at sea within the current legal framework of UNCLOS and the UN Security Council amplifications specifically adopted for the case of Somalia can effectively perform their tasks, the question of what to do with the pirate suspects is still not satisfactorily resolved. As a consequence, attacks against merchant vessels and international trade run the risk of being ‘consequence free’, in which the perpetrators are not being held accountable. Participating nations are confronted with the fact that military operations against piracy, which is essentially a criminal offence, need a comprehensive approach to ensure accountability. To counter this criminal activity at sea nations try to strengthen the judicial infrastructure through national prosecution or transfer suspects for prosecution in the Horn of Africa region. As these options are not considered to be enough, and hampered by other non-legal factors, some nations call for an international court as a possible long term solution.
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