Somali Pirates as Agents of Change in International Law-Making and Organisation

Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp. 81-106, 2012

26 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2013

See all articles by Douglas Guilfoyle

Douglas Guilfoyle

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Australian Defence Force Academy

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Somali piracy is a highly adaptive business activity that can only be understood in context. The present article aims to provide an analysis of the phenomenon and in particular its impact on international law-making and organisation. The present article thus proceeds by first offering an extended account of the history of Somali piracy and its context. This is vital for two reasons: first, one must appreciate that Somali piracy is not a static phenomenon; and second, understanding how Somali piracy is shaped by its context cautions us against concluding that Somali-style piracy may 'spread' to other regions. The article then turns to the rise of international counter-piracy operations and counterpiracy co-operation. Here we see a rapid shift from a largely 'military paradigm' response (unilateral actions and Security Council authorised missions) to a 'law enforcement response.' The latter in particular requires transnational coordination, which soon moves out of formal international organisations to a range of informal coordinating bodies. Finally, we can see how a response that commenced as, in effect, containment of piracy through maritime patrols becoming increasingly engaged in operations ashore, though usually in the form of engagement with criminal justice sector reform rather than military strikes on pirate bases. Some tentative conclusions are then offered about the effectiveness of current efforts.

Keywords: Piracy, Somalia, Somali piracy, law of the sea, international law, international security, maritime piracy

Suggested Citation

Guilfoyle, Douglas, Somali Pirates as Agents of Change in International Law-Making and Organisation (2012). Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp. 81-106, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2253273

Douglas Guilfoyle (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Australian Defence Force Academy ( email )

Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

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