Stato di Diritto e Lotta alla Pirateria nelle Acque Somale (The Fight Against Piracy in Somali Waters and the Rule of Law)

Diritto Penale e Processo, Vol. 19, No. 2, 2013, pp. 230-245

20 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2013

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

La lotta alla pirateria marittima nelle acque somale è divenuta nel tempo un fenomeno di assoluto rilievo nello scenario politico internazionale. Sebbene la caccia ai pirati si risolva nella repressione di un reato a giurisdizione universale e, come tale, non ponga particolari problemi quanto alla legittimità dell’intervento degli Stati nazionali, un attento esame della normativa di riferimento internazionale ed interna evidenzia talune questioni di non poco conto per l’interprete. Esse riguardano, ad esempio, l’uso della forza da parte delle Unità italiane inviate in loco, la disciplina del fermo e dell’arresto dei sospetti pirati, il loro trasferimento in patria o in un Paese terzo, le comunicazioni con l’Autorità giudiziaria nazionale e le possibili ‘interferenze’ tra gli obblighi posti in capo ai Comandanti di Unità navali dalla legge penale e le disposizioni del Comando militare internazionale di afferenza.

L’analisi rivela un quadro giuridico lacunoso ed incerto, talvolta censurabile, composto in larga parte da norme speciali bisognose di una sostanziale riforma, anche e soprattutto nell’interesse dello stesso personale militare impiegato nelle operazioni anti-pirateria

In recent times, the fight against maritime piracy in Somali waters has become a critical phenomenon in the international political scenario. Although piracy is nothing but a crime of universal jurisdiction and the legitimacy of the intervention by national State forces off the Horn of Africa is not to be questioned, at a closer look, the applicable international and national law rules show some relevant issues which may deserve the attention of scholars and practitioners. Among them there are, for instance: a) the use of force by intervening forces; b) the application of procedural safeguards for defendants to suspect pirates; c) their transfer to the flag State’s territory or to third countries; d) the communications with the prosecutor’s office and/or the judge at home; e) a possible interference between military and police duties of commanding officers (especially when the intervening warship is under international control); etc.

In examining all these issues in much detail, this article looks in particular to the experience of the Italian Navy in the course of anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean. The analysis reveals some major legal gaps which need to be addressed, also in the interest of military personnel. The main problem lies in the transfer of suspect pirates to third countries for prosecution or release. In the former case, a question of compliance with Article 5(3)(4) ECHR (as well as with relevant constitutional norms) may arise. On the other hand, the release of individuals on the Somali territory might lead to potential violations of the non refoulement principle. Indeed, even when operating under international control (e.g. EU or NATO), any breach of law ends up being imputed, first and foremost, to the intervening warship’s flag State and its commanding officer/crew.

Note: Downloadable document is in Italian.

Keywords: piracy, Somalia, Italian Navy, jurisdiction, procedural guarantees, transfer of individuals to third States, prosecution, European Convention of Human Rights

JEL Classification: H56, K14, K33, K42

Suggested Citation

Tondini, Matteo, Stato di Diritto e Lotta alla Pirateria nelle Acque Somale (The Fight Against Piracy in Somali Waters and the Rule of Law) (2013). Diritto Penale e Processo, Vol. 19, No. 2, 2013, pp. 230-245. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2307021

Matteo Tondini (Contact Author)

Independent

No Address Available
United States

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