First, kindly read the U.N. information at http://www.internationalcrimesdatabase.org/Crimes/Piracy
regarding the definition of piracy.
Then, please view the clip at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMvGIqa-ZlM regarding American response to Somali pirates.
Finally, discuss your opinion of whether the American response to the Somali pirates constituted an appropriate exercise of universal jurisdiction, with special reference to whether the actions of the Somalis fits the definition of piracy in the U.N. document.
Piracy is an organized criminal activity that is conducted with heinous intentions. Piracy results in hostages thus interfering with the safety of human lives, international commerce, and maintenance of channels. Pirates are always looking out for easy targets and profits. The pirates in the video attached plundered the ship for easy profit. They held the captain hostage and used him as bait to demand ransom and favors. The pirate networks use pirate negotiation to conduct successful ransom transactions. The negotiators act as the communication buffers between the pirate bosses and owners of the hijacked ships. In history, piracy has been closely related to marine commerce (Youngs,2014). The UN convention Law of the Sea defines piracy as illegal acts of violence or depredation committed by the private crew for private ends. The act can occur on the high seas against a person’s property, ship, or aircraft.
Pirates are considered enemies of the state. People who commit piracy crimes can be brought to justice anywhere. Every state has jurisdiction over the acts of piracy committed on the high seas. Piracy is a crime that is subjected to universal jurisdiction. The level of jurisdiction allows states to prosecute pirates even without a clear link of their territorial and nationality. Piracy is considered a serious crime that any state has the right to prosecute the pirates. Piracy affects the well-being of humanity and the economic states of territories. Kenya is one of the leading states that has taken action against piracy. In 2012, its state of appeal held that Kenya’s courts have the right to universal jurisdiction. The jurisdiction does not require the prosecuting state to be affected by the acts of piracy to bring the offenders to justice (Youngs,2014).
The American response to the Somalia pirates is an appropriate exercise of universal jurisdiction. The actions of thru Somali fit the definition of privacy. The pirate attack on the Maersk Alabama involved Somali pirates who captured 17,000 tons of cargo ship. Such piracy activities are considered to be lucrative when the pirates exploit for huge sums of money. The act was an illegal act of violence and detention towards the ship and its passengers. The best solution, in this case, was for the US government to rely on the universal jurisdiction to prosecute a Somali pirate. The US government had to intervene because the hostage was a United States citizen. Research shows that the prosecution marked the first time that the U.S had prosecuted a lead negotiator of piracy. President Obama ordered the Navy Seal to shoot the pirates. All the pirates were fatally shot except the lead negotiator by the name of Muse and the Captain. Muse was sentenced to 27 years in prison after pleading guilty (Grossman,2016). The universal law permitted the US to prosecute the pirates thus making the case and the occurrence the first of their kind. For example, (Grossman,2016) stated that the charges toward Muse were the first piracy charges to be brought in the US in more than a century. The prosecution made it okay to prosecute Somali pirates based on universality.
Youngs, G. T. (2014). Piracy in Somalia: A Legal Analysis Concerning the Prosecution of Pirate Negotiators And Pirate Facilitators under the Current US and International Framework. Ind. Int’l & Comp. L. Rev., 24, 809.
Grossman, L. R. (2016). Down with the Ship: The Prosecution of Piratical Acts in the United States v. Ali. BC Int’l & Comp. L. Rev., 39, 28.