Entrepreneurship, Hardship, and Gamesmanship: Modern Piracy as a Dry Endeavor

By MacLaren, Selina | Chicago Journal of International Law, Summer 2013 | Go to article overview

Entrepreneurship, Hardship, and Gamesmanship: Modern Piracy as a Dry Endeavor


MacLaren, Selina, Chicago Journal of International Law


Abstract

Piracy has reemerged in the past decade, but international laws lag behind. While modern - day piracy threatens lives and industries, antipiracy efforts are constrained by international legal definitions written centuries ago to address a crime that looked radically different from its twenty-first-century counterpart. Today, piracy networks are increasingly sophisticated and land-based, but piracy laws define the crime as one occurring on the high seas. Handcuffed by the high seas requirement, nations prosecute only junior pirates while pirate kingpins operate from the safety of land.

In recent months, lower piracy rates have promised stability and masked the urgency of the threat. Although attacks have decreased, ransoms have skyrocketed and antipiracy successes come from methods resting on shaky legal foundations. The false sense of complacency in the antipiracy movement only heightens the need for a new definition of piracy.

This Comment seeks a solution that will maintain existing international maritime laws but interpret them in a way that extends the piracy definition to land-based activities. These adjustments will efficiently deter pirates without the legal precariousness of existing antipiracy methods. It uses maritime treaties, counterterrorism tools, and familiar legal doctrines to pull pirate kingpins into the purview of piracy laws.

Selina MacLaren*

I. Introduction .................................................................................................348

II. The Evolution of Piracy .............................................................................350

III. Existing Antipiracy Methods..................................................................... 352

A. Multinational Navy Patrols .........................................................................352

B. Armed Security ...........................................................................................353

C. Land-Based Pursuit ....................................................................................354

IV. Territorial Sovereignty and Jus Cogens .......................................................356

A. Piracy as a Peremptory Norm ....................................................................356

B. Somali Territorial Sovereignty....................................................................... 357

C. Universal Jurisdiction ....................................................................................360

V. International Maritime Law .........................................................................361

A. UNCLOS and the Rome Convention Compared ............................................361

B. UN Security Council Resolutions Responding to Piracy ...................................364

C. Regional Piracy Laws ...................................................................................366

VI. A New Approach ........................................................................................367

A. Aiding and Abetting ..........................................................................................367

1. Aiding and abetting liability and its elements in existing international treaties ............................................................................................................368

2. Challenges in applying aiding and abetting to piracy ..................................................369

3. A solution that permits aiding and abetting liability to apply in the piracy context ..........................................................................................................370

B. Anticipatory Self-Defense and Counterterrorism ....................................................371

C. From Definitions to Prosecutions .............................................................................373

VII. …

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