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PROSECUTING A TWENTY- FIRST CENTURY PIRATE, 101 Prepared For: Geoffrey W. Gill __________________________________________________________________.

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Presentation on theme: "PROSECUTING A TWENTY- FIRST CENTURY PIRATE, 101 Prepared For: Geoffrey W. Gill __________________________________________________________________."— Presentation transcript:

1 PROSECUTING A TWENTY- FIRST CENTURY PIRATE, 101 Prepared For: Geoffrey W. Gill __________________________________________________________________

2 Jurisdiction From at least the days of Caesar, a pirate has been deemed hostis humani generis – an enemy of the human race.  Sir Edward Coke. Therefore, a pirate is on “notice” that prosecution for his/her depredations may be undertaken by any nation having the pirate in hand.

3 Congressional Authority Congress is empowered to “define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the High Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations.”  United States Constitution, art. I, sec.8, cl. 10 (“Offense Clause”).

4 International Concern “…unlawful acts against the safety of maritime navigation jeopardize the safety of persons and property, seriously affect the operation of maritime services, and undermine the confidence of the peoples of the world in the safety of maritime navigation” to the extent that signatory nations shall undertake the “prosecution and punishment” of perpetrators who seize or exercise control over a ship by force or threat of force or intimidation, or perform any act of violence against a person on board a ship if such act is likely to endanger the safe navigation of that ship.  Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, Preamble and Art. 3 (1988).

5 United States enabling legislation 18 U.S.C. sec proscribes seven acts of violence against maritime navigation as well as the attempt or conspiracy to commit any of those acts, and provides for United States jurisdiction over the person under certain conditions including the offender later being found in the United States. Implemented in United States vs. Shi, 525 F.3d 709 (9th Cir. 2008), cert. den. 129 S.Ct. 324 (2008)

6 We have a jurisdictional structure – now we need a defendant

7 Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse

8 Described by MAERSK ALABAMA’s master as the Leader…  First pirate on board, p. 112  Shot at captain with machine gun, p. 112  Gave the orders and other three pirates obeyed, p. 118  Battered the master after his attempted escape from lifeboat, p. 205  On board BAINBRIDGE discussed ransom and conditions for safe escape, p R. Phillips, A CAPTAIN’S DUTY (2010)

9 19 May 2009 Grand Jury charged Muse in a ten count indictment.

10 Count I Piracy  “ 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.” 18 U.S.C. sec. 1651

11 Count II Seizing control over a ship by force.  18 U.S.C. sec. 2280(a)(1)(A)

12 Count III Conspiracy and confederacy to seize a ship by force with overt act of boarding with firearm and threatening master.  18 U.S.C. sec. 2280(a)(1)(A) and 2280(a)(1)(H)

13 Count IV Possession of a firearm in course of seizing a ship by force.  18 U.S.C. sec. 924(c)(1)(B)(ii)

14 Count V Hostage-taking for gain  18 U.S.C. sec. 1203(a)

15 Count VI Conspiracy to commit hostage-taking  18 U.S.C. sec. 1203(a)

16 Count VII Possession of firearm during hostage- taking  18 U.S.C. sec. 924(c)(1)(B)(ii)

17 Count VIII Kidnapping within special maritime jurisdiction of the United States  18 U.S.C. sec. 1201(a)(2)

18 Count IX Kidnapping within special maritime jurisdiction of the United States  18 U.S.C. sec. 1201(a)(2) & 1201(c)

19 Count X Possession of firearm in course of kidnapping  18 U.S.C. sec. 924(c)(1)(B)(ii)

20 January 2010 Trial scheduled…but…

21 Legal Precedent Prosecution of Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse may serve as template for the 11 pirates charged in separate attacks against the USS NICHOLAS and USS ASHLAND in March/April 2010.

22 Defenses Jurisdiction Brainwashed and outwitted youth – Duress White flag of truce

23 THANK YOU! GEOFFREY W. GILL Of Counsel Countryman & McDaniel 5933 West Century Blvd., Suite 1111 Los Angeles, California T: (310) F: (310) E:


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