Monday, April 11, 2011

UN Security Council Decides to Consider Special Courts for Pirates

The ABA Section of International Law held a briefing today at the United Nations in New York.  While the ABA delegation was meeting at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and the Office of the Legal Advisor for the United Nations, the U.N. Security Council decided to consider establishing specialized Somali courts to try suspected pirates both in the Somalia and in the region.  The Council also urged both State and non-State actors affected by piracy, most notably the international shipping community, to provide support for a host of judicial- and detention-related projects through the trust fund set up for that purpose. In the resolution adopted unanimously today, the Security Council stressed the need for “a comprehensive response to tackle piracy and its underlying causes by the international community.” 

Piracy is a crime of universal jurisdiction, meaning that any country in the world would hae jurisdiction (and perhaps even the obligation) to prosecute pirates.  In one sense, when universal jurisdiction already exists there may be no need for a special courts.  Specialized courts face funding problems even when funded by voluntary donations. 


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