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Another voice supporting a 'pirate court'

I just today stumbled across this month-old article reporting on the Dutch foreign minister’s demand for a UN backed tribunal for the trial of pirates in the East African countries. We have reported earlier on the apparent desire among certain (European) States to establish such an international court (inter alia to avoid any pirates being taken to those countries which would entail according costs and unpleasantness) and this seems to be another strong argument in the same direction.

I still fail to understand, however, how the States that support the creation of such a court could possibly be willing to come up with the necessary funding. We know from the two ad hoc tribunals (ICTY and ICTR) that the costs for such special judicial institutions is considerable. Indeed the lack of funding is the main reason for why these two courts have to close down soon. And even if a ‘pirate court’ would certainly come at a considerable lower costs that an ad hoc criminal tribunal, the lack of sufficient (material and personal) infrastructure in the countries where it would be situated would make it a costly endevour nonetheless.


  1. Jacqui Porth Jacqui Porth 24 July 2009

    The issue of costs for any legal procedure is certainly relevant. Perhaps money, material and personnel would stretch further if it is given to existing courts in the region that are cable of mounting cases against alleged pirates — like Kenya.
    You might be interested in some of the legal and other aspects of the piracy issue tackled recently on in the special feature package entitled: Combating Piracy. See

  2. Cato Cato 14 November 2009

    Why not go back to the successful method of the 18th-19th Century that cleared the Caribbean, the Med. and the South China Seas. Minor Courts of Admiralty headed by the Captain of the arresting warship. (Yard-arm optional).
    As for disposition of the prisoners. There are several uninhabited Islands in the Indian Ocean a long way from any the trade routes. Most belong to France and neither French, nor soppy European Law applies there.

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