International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Update On The Pirates

The fact that piracy is becoming a suitable topic in our politically loaded global environment is a testament to the UN’s effort to confront piracy. Although Piracy is the oldest war crime, its legal definition has stirred conflict and has not prevented attacks. Rather, piracy is worse than its ever been, and has created regional insecurity and disturbed the global flow of goods through the Gulf of Aden. The article says that a UN envoy proposed pirate courts in Somali enclaves to try pirates for war crimes. The project would cost an estimated 25 million over three years, including two special prisons housing 500 each, and funding to build another in the future. The problem with this proposal is it neglects the lack of effective legal infrastructure in Somalia. 25 million dollars is also inadequate funding for 3 prisons and a working court system. There has to be universal support and funding aimed at overcoming the Pirate saga, which I think is a solvable problem that must be approached in the right way. The UN clearly lacks funding capabilities but does show genuine concern for piracy. Therefore, state funding initiatives are essential for the creation of a truly functioning court system in Somalia, as well as better security in the region.


3 responses to “Update On The Pirates

  1. Alana Tiemessen February 1, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    There have also been calls for an international court to deal with piracy crimes and/or to push more states to exercise universal jurisdiction over such crimes and prosecute pirates in national courts. one of the obstacles, of course, is apprehension and addressing the root causes of piracy in Somalia.

    • julespc February 2, 2011 at 1:29 pm

      I think its important that states exercise universal jurisdiction, but wouldn’t it be detrimental to pirate groups if a legitimate court system was functioning in Somalia. If these courts are running in the Somalia close to where pirates are operating and taking hostages, the proximity could scare pirates into finding other work or leaving the region. The whole reason piracy is so successful in Somalia is the lack of security and the absence of government controlling the state. Therefore building up institutions and security in the country is a necessary long term step that wealthy states (along with the UN) have to address and fund. In the mean time, states should prosecute pirates in their national courts, and try there best to intimidate pirates. The root cause may be insecurity, and addressing those causes is a long term goal. But as impatient as the international community is, securing the region from piracy is imperative to international security.

  2. nchapin February 20, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    As stated above, an international court intended specificially for piracy is a good idea, however the implementation will be a major determinant of the courts effectiveness. While it has been stated that 25 million dollars in an inadequate budget for a working court and prison system, I contend that if proposed with a multilateral solution nations would be willing to put forth further resources for the implementation of these anti-piracy measures. Considering the estimated cost alone of rerouting cargo ships around the Somali Gulf of Aden is around $3 B annually, I am sure that members of the international community would pledge support for an effective detterrence strategy. With total annual costs of deterring piracy exceeding $7 B, I believe the international community could benefit strongly from a most hands on approach consisting of special prisons, courts, and in my opinion, a military taskforce to track and arrest pirate leadership. The costs would be insignificant compared to the current economic toll piracy takes annually.

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