Piracy, the protection of vital state interests and the false foundations of universal jurisdiction in international law

Matthew Garrod

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Abstract

It is widely asserted by courts and in legal scholarship that for hundreds of years universal jurisdiction has applied to the crime of piracy. However, the alleged historical legal foundations of universality need challenge. The central argument of this analysis is that jurisdiction over “piracy” is better understood under the protective principle, which arose out of the necessity of maritime Powers roughly between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to protect certain of their vital interests, not least their overseas trade routes and colonial trade and settlements. It follows that there is a need to re-conceptualise jurisdiction over piracy as the protection of vital State interests shared by the international community, a concept misinterpreted as universal jurisdiction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-213
JournalDiplomacy & Statecraft
Volume25
Issue number2
Early online date22 May 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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