Counter-Piracy Law Enforcement and Human Rights
International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Vol. 59, pp. 141-169, 2010
Posted: 19 Apr 2010
Date Written: January 28, 2010
In the remarkably short period from April 2007 to mid-2009 a flurry of hard and soft-law-making activity has constructed an increasingly comprehensive and decentralized legal framework addressing piracy off Somalia. Warships operate under a variety of national and international mandates, and there is no single unified command covering all counter-piracy missions. Bilateral transfer agreements sit alongside a regional code of conduct, and both sit within the framework of the law of the sea and Security Council Resolutions. One-size-fits-all solutions have been eschewed for a pragmatic range of national and international mechanisms. Nonetheless, captured piracy suspects raise significant questions about their arrest, detention and transfer to a State willing to try them, especially for State parties to the European Convention on Human Rights. This article first outlines the general legal framework surrounding Somali piracy before addressing to specific human rights issues and potential ways forward.
Keywords: international law, piracy, pirates, Somalia, human rights, soft law, non-refoulement
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