Presentation on theme: "The Law of Piracy. Piracies and Felonies on the High Seas; Offenses Against the Law of Nations, Article I, Section 8, Clause 10 of the US Constitution."— Presentation transcript:
The Law of Piracy
Piracies and Felonies on the High Seas; Offenses Against the Law of Nations, Article I, Section 8, Clause 10 of the US Constitution confers upon Congress the power To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations.
18 U.S.C. § Piracy under law of nations Whoever, on the high seas, commits the crime of piracy as defined by the law of nations, and is afterwards brought into or found in the United States, shall be imprisoned for life.
What is piracy?
1958Convention on the High Seas Piracy consists of any of the following acts: (1) Any illegal acts of violence, detention or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed: (a) On the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft; (b) Against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State; (2) Any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft; (3) Any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in subparagraph 1 or subparagraph 2 of this article.
U.N. Convention on Law of the Sea 1982 Article101 Definition of piracy Piracy consists of any of the following acts: (a) any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed: (i) on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft; (ii) against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State; (b) any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft; (c) any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in subparagraph (a) or (b).
U.N. Convention on Law of the Sea 1982 Article105 Seizure of a pirate ship or aircraft On the high seas, or in any other place outside the jurisdiction of any State, every State may seize a pirate ship or aircraft, or a ship or aircraft taken by piracy and under the control of pirates, and arrest the persons and seize the property on board. The courts of the State which carried out the seizure may decide upon the penalties to be imposed, and may also determine the action to be taken with regard to the ships, aircraft or property, subject to the rights of third parties acting in good faith.
U.N. Convention on Law of the Sea 1982 The United States has taken the position that non-deep sea mining provisions of UNCLOS are declarative of customary international law. See Proclamation No. 5928, 54 Fed. Reg. 777 (1988); Proclamation No. 5030, 48 Fed. Reg. 10,605 (1983); Statement on United States Oceans Policy, 1983 Pub. Papers 378, 379 (Mar. 10, 1983).
U.S. v. Smith (S.Ct. 1820) – Reliance upon the Law of Nations to define the crime of piracy is not unconstitutional U.S. v. Moahamed Ali Said (E.D. Va. 2010) – Defendants opened fire on USS ASHLAND – Court ruled that piracy is robbery at sea and that an armed attack on a naval vessel is not piracy – Court ignores U.N. Convention on the High Seas
The BRIG MALEK ADHEL, U.S. Supreme Court (2 How.) 210, 232 (1844) The next question is whether the acts complained of are piratical within the sense and purview of the act. The argument for the claimants seems to suppose, that the act does not intend to punish any aggression, which, if carried into complete execution, would not amount to positive piracy in contemplation of law. That it must be mainly, if not exclusively, done animo furandi, or lucri causa; and that it must unequivocally demonstrate that the aggression is with a view to plunder, and not for any other purpose, however hostile or atrocious or indispensable such purpose, may be. We cannot adopt any such narrow and limited interpretation of the words of the act; and in our judgment it would manifestly defeat the objects and policy of the act, which seems designed to carry into effect the general law of nations on the same subject in a just and appropriate manner. Where the act uses the word piratical, it does so in a general sense; importing that the aggression is unauthorized by the law of nations, hostile in its character, wanton and criminal in its commission, and utterly without any sanction from any public authority or sovereign power. In short, it means that the act belongs to the class of offences which pirates are in the habit of perpetrating, whether they do it for purposes of plunder, or for purposes of hatred, revenge, or wanton abuse of power. A pirate is deemed, and properly deemed, hostis humani generis. But why is he so deemed? Because he commits hostilities upon pretence of public authority. If he wilfully sinks or destroys an innocent merchant ship, without any other object than to gratify his lawless appetite for mischief, it is just as much a piratical aggression, in the sense of the law of nations, and of the act of Congress, as if he did it solely and exclusively for the sake of plunder, lucri causa. The law looks to it as an act of hostility, and being committed by a vessel not commissioned and engaged in lawful warfare, it treats it as the act of a pirate, and of one who is emphatically hostis humani generis. We think that the aggressions established by the evidence bring the case completely within the prohibitions of the act; and if an intent to plunder were necessary to be established, (as we think it is not,) the acts of aggression and hostility and plunder committed on the Portuguese vessel are sufficient to establish the fact of an open, although petty plunderage. the subjects and property of any or all nations, without any regard to right or duty, or any
In re Piracy Jure Gentium, 1934 App. Cas. 586, 598, reprinted in 3 BRIT. INT'L L. CASES 836, 842 (1965) When it is sought to be contended, as it was in this case, that armed men sailing the seas on board a vessel, without any commission from any state, could attack and kill everybody on board another vessel, sailing under a national flag, without committing the crime of piracy unless they stole, say, an article worth six-pence, their Lordships are almost tempted to say that a little common sense is a valuable quality in the interpretation of international law.
33 U.S.C. § 383. Resistance of pirates by merchant vessels The commander and crew of any merchant vessel of the United States, owned wholly, or in part, by a citizen thereof, may oppose and defend against any aggression, search, restraint, depredation, or seizure, which shall be attempted upon such vessel, or upon any other vessel so owned, by the commander or crew of any armed vessel whatsoever, not being a public armed vessel of some nation in amity with the United States, and may subdue and capture the same; and may also retake any vessel so owned which may have been captured by the commander or crew of any such armed vessel, and send the same into any port of the United States. Act of March 3, 1819
Liability Issues Jones Act and Unseaworthiness Is an unarmed vessel unseaworthy? – The U.S. Navy has advised U.S. flag vessel owners to arm No armed vessel has been taken by pirates