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Where Security Meets Justice: Prosecuting Maritime Piracy in the International Criminal Court

  • Melanie O'BRIEN (a1)
Abstract

The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established to prosecute crimes that “threaten the peace, security and well-being of the world”. Maritime piracy has a long history as a threat to international security and was in fact the first international crime. Yet piracy was excluded from the Rome Statute. In the years since the drafting of the Rome Statute, piracy has increased dramatically to become more like the threat it was in the “Golden Age of Piracy”. Criminal accountability for piracy has been minimal, due to logistical and jurisdictional difficulties. This paper offers an analysis of the potential of the ICC for prosecuting pirates: why it should be considered as a potential forum for ensuring criminal accountability for piracy, how piracy fits within the ICC's jurisdiction, and whether or not piracy should be added to the Rome Statute as a stand-alone crime or under the rubric of crimes against humanity.

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BA/LLB (University of Newcastle, Australia); Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (University of Technology, Sydney, Australia); LLM in International Human Rights Law (University of Lund, Sweden); PhD (University of Nottingham, United Kingdom). Admitted Legal Practitioner (Supreme Court of NSW, Australia). Research Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. This paper is based on a paper delivered at the 2012 ANZSIL-AsianSIL Conference in Sydney, Australia. The author would like to thank Tamsin Page for a very useful discussion at that conference.

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1. Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, 17 July 1998, 2187 U.N.T.S. 90 (entered into force 1 July 2002) [Rome Statute].

2. BELLAMY, Chris, “Maritime Piracy: Return of the World's Second-Oldest Security Problem” (2011) 156 The Royal United Services Institute Journal 78 at 78

3. KRASKA, James, Contemporary Maritime Piracy: International Law, Strategy, and Diplomacy at Sea (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2001) at 1034

4. Kraska, supra note 3 at 35−58

5. FLETCHER, George P. and OHLIN, Jens David, “The ICC – Two Courts in One?” (2006) 4 Journal of International Criminal Justice 428

JESSBERGER, Florian and GENEUSS, Julia, “The Many Faces of the International Criminal Court” (2012) 10 Journal of International Criminal Justice 1081

6. ICC International Maritime Bureau, “Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships: Report for the Period 1 January−31 December 2012” (January 2013), online: ICC 〈http://www.icc-ccs.org/piracy-reporting-centre/request-piracy-report〉 at 5−6 [IMB 2012 Report].

7. Mark J. VALENCIA, “Piracy and Politics in Southeast Asia” in Derek JOHNSON and Mark VALENCIA, eds., Piracy in Southeast Asia: Status, Issues, and Responses (Singapore: ISEAS Publications, 2005)

Sam BATEMAN, “Confronting Maritime Crime in Southeast Asian Waters: Reexamining ‘Piracy’ in the Twenty-first Century” in Bruce A. ELLEMAN et al., eds., Piracy and Maritime Crime: Historical and Modern Case Studies (Newport, RI: Naval War College, 2010), 137−153

8. ICC International Maritime Bureau, “Piracy & Armed Robbery News & Figures” (May 2013), online: ICC 〈http://www.icc-ccs.org/piracy-reporting-centre/piracynewsafigures〉.

9. Oceans Beyond Piracy, “The Economic Cost of Somali Piracy 2011” (February 2012), online: Oceans Beyond Piracy 〈http://oceansbeyondpiracy.org/cost-of-piracy/economic〉.

10. Oceans Beyond Piracy, “The Economic Cost of Maritime Piracy” (December 2010), online: Oceans Beyond Piracy 〈http://oceansbeyondpiracy.org/cost-of-piracy/economic〉.

11. See e.g. SC Res. 2020 (2011); Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea Pursuant to Security Council Resolution 2002 (2011), UN Doc. S/2012/544 Annex 41 (13 July 2012), at 195 [UN Monitoring Group Report 2012].

12. Ibid.

13. Ibid.; see supra note 10.

14. Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation in Somalia, UN Doc. S/2007/381 (25 June 2007), at para. 51.

15. Ibid., para. 58.

16. This figure was given as 80% in 2007: Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation in Somalia, UN Doc. S/2007/658 (7 November 2007), at para. 22; this figure was given as 95% in 2009: Report of the Secretary-General Pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1846 (2008), UN Doc. S/2009/146 (2009), at 9, para. 35.

17. IMB 2012 Report, supra note 6 at 11; ICC International Maritime Bureau, “Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships: Report for the Period 1 January−31 December 2011” (London: January 2012).

18. IMB 2012 Report, supra note 6 at 11; ICC International Maritime Bureau, supra note 17.

19. Oceans Beyond Piracy, “The Human Cost of Somali Piracy” (6 June 2011), online: Oceans Beyond Piracy 〈http://oneearthfuture.org/images/imagefiles/HCOP_Paper_FINAL_1pdf〉 at 16−19.

20. Ibid., at 18−19.

21. DUA, Jatin and MENKHAUS, Ken, “The Context of Contemporary Piracy: The Case of Somalia” (2012) 10 Journal of International Criminal Justice 749 at 751

22. Ibid. at 756−7.

23. YOUNG, Adam J., “Roots of Contemporary Maritime Piracy in Southeast Asia” in Johnson and Valencia, supra note 7, 1−33

ANTONY, Robert J., “Piracy on the South China Coast through Modern Times” in Ellemen et al., supra note 7, 35−50

24. YOUNG, Adam J., Contemporary Maritime Piracy in Southeast Asia: History, Causes and Remedies (Singapore: ISEAS Publishing, 2007) at 57113

Martin N. MURPHY, “Piracy and the Exploitation of Sanctuary” in Jeffrey H. NORWITZ, ed., Pirates, Terrorists, and Warlords (New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2009)

25. See generally Parts One and Two of Elleman et al., supra note 7.

26. SINGH, C. and BEDI, A.S., “ ‘War on Piracy’: The Conflation of Somali Piracy with Terrorism in Discourse, Tactic and Law” (2012) 543 ISS Working Paper Series / General Series 1

27. ONG, Graham Gerard, “Ships Can Be Dangerous, Too: Coupling Piracy and Terrorism in Southeast Asia's Maritime Security Framework” in Johnson and Valencia, supra note 7, 45−76

VALENCIA, Mark J., “Piracy and Terrorism in Southeast Asia: Similarities, Differences and Their Implications” in Johnson and Valencia, supra note 7, 77−102

Bateman, supra note 7 at 137−153

28. Report of the Secretary-General on Specialized Anti-piracy Courts in Somalia and other States in the Region, UN Doc. S/2012/50 (20 January 2012), at 5.

29. Antony, supra note 23 at 35−36

DAVIS, Jamie, “Somali Man Convicted of Piracy for Role in German, US Hijackings” Jurist (28 April 2012)

TAGLIOLI, Dan, “Somali Pirate Negotiator Sentenced to 12 Life Sentences” Jurist (14 August 2012)

GARDNER, Maggie, “Piracy Prosecutions in National Courts” (2012) 10 Journal of International Criminal Justice 797

30. Elizabeth ANDERSON et al., “Suppressing Maritime Piracy: Exploring the Options in International Law”, American Society of International Law, Workshop Report, 16−17 October 2009 at 8

31. PHILLIPS, Roger L., “India: A Case Study” Piracy-Law.com (24 September 2011)

32. PHILLIPS, Roger L., “Language, Capacity Issues Plague Indian Prosecutions of Somali Pirates” Piracy-Law.com (1 February 2013)

33. Keyuan, ZOU, “Enforcing the Law of Piracy in the South China Sea” (2000) 31 Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce 107 at 114115

34. J. Ashley ROACH, “General Problematic Issues on Exercise of Jurisdiction over Modern Instance of Piracy” in Clive R. SYMMONS, ed., Selected Contemporary Issues in the Law of the Sea (Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2011)

35. Anderson et al., supra note 30

36. GLASER, Bonnie, “Trouble in the South China Sea” Foreign Policy.com (17 September 2012)

AKANDE, Dapo, “Philippines Initiates Arbitration Against China over South China Seas Dispute” Blog of European Journal of International Law (22 January 2013)

37. Adam CRAWFORD, “Crime Prevention and Community Safety” in Mike MAGUIRE et al., eds., The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007)

38. Stephen E. BROWN et al. Criminology: Explaining Crime and Its Context, 7th edn. (New Providence, NJ: LexisNexis, 2010) at 172−173

39. Young, supra note 24

Dua and Menkhaus, supra note 21

40. Brown et al., supra note 38 at 173

BOTTOMS, Anthony E., “Place, Space, Crime, and Disorder” in Maguire et al., supra note 37, 528−574

41. Brown et al., supra note 38 at 173

Bottoms, supra note 37 at 540

42. Antonio CASSESE, International Criminal Law, 2nd edn. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008) at 12

BENTO, Lucas, “Toward an International Law of Piracy Sui Generis: How the Dual Nature of Maritime Piracy Law Enables Piracy to Flourish” (2011) 29 Berkeley Journal of International Law 399 at 402

43. The Case of the S.S. “Lotus” (France v. Turkey), Dissenting Opinion of Judge Moore, PCIJ, Ser. A., no. 10 (1927) at 70 [Lotus case].

44. Cassese, supra note 42 at 54

45. Dua and Menkhaus, supra note 21

46. HALL, Christopher Keith, “The First Two Sessions of the UN Preparatory Committee on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court” (1997) 91 American Journal of International Law 177 at 179

LEE, Roy S.ed., The International Criminal Court: The Making of the Rome Statute - Issues, Negotiations, Results (The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 1999) at 8587

BOISTER, Neil, “International Tribunals for Transnational Crimes: Towards a Transnational Criminal Court?” (2012) 23 Criminal Law Forum 295 at 296299

47. DUTTON, Yvonne M., “Bringing Pirates to Justice: A Case for Including Piracy within the Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court” (2010) 11 Chicago Journal of International Law 197 at 220223

48. GUILFOYLE, Douglas, “Prosecuting Somali Pirates: A Critical Evaluation of the Options” (2012) 10 Journal of International Criminal Justice 767

Kraska, supra note 3 at 168−182

Bento, supra note 42 at 441−447

49. SG's 2010 Report on Somali Piracy Prosecutions, supra note 48 at 37.

50. Dutton, supra note 47

51. Ibid., at 238.

52. Gardner, supra note 29 at 797

53. See all references at supra note 48.

54. This raises the issue of enactment of the ICC's jurisdiction, which is addressed infra.

55. Dutton, supra note 47 at 239

56. O'DONOHUE, Jonathan, “Financing the International Criminal Court” (2013) 13 International Criminal Law Review 269 at 280

57. ASP Official Records (in either Volume II or Part III) over the past years provide the following statistics: numbers were lowest in the early years of the Court: 2004—375 staff; 2005—489 staff. From 2006, numbers rose to a level maintained for three years: 2006—624 staff; 2007—647 staff; 2008—679 staff. Staff numbers rose by about 100 in 2009 and have remained consistent since then: 2009—762 staff; 2010—791 staff; 2011—775 staff; 2012—769 staff. All Official Records are available online: 〈http://www.icc-cpi.int/en_menus/asp/sessions/official%20records/Pages/official%20records.aspx〉.

58. See generally International Criminal Court, “Situations and Cases”, online: ICC 〈http://www.icc-cpi.int/en_menus/icc/situations%20and%20cases/Pages/situations%20and%20cases.aspx〉.

59. Dutton, supra note 47 at 232

60. Art. 8 bis of the Rome Statute, insertion through RC/Res.6, 11 June 2010.

61. Sub-arts. 8(2)(e)(xiii), (xiv), (xv).

62. CLARK, Roger S., “Negotiating Provisions Defining the Crime of Aggression, Its Elements and the Conditions for ICC Exercise of Jurisdiction over It” (2009) 20 European Journal of International Law 1103

MANCINI, Marina, “A Brand New Definition for the Crime of Aggression: The Kampala Outcome” (2012) 81 Nordic Journal of International Law 227

63. Dutton, supra note 47 at 233

64. SATKAUSKAS, Rytis, “Piracy at Sea and the Limits of International Law” (2011) 1 Aegean Review of the Law of the Sea 217

65. UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, 10 December 1982, 1833 U.N.T.S. 3, 21 I.L.M. 1261 (entered into force 16 November 1994) [UNCLOS].

66. UN Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, 1678 U.N.T.S. 221, 27 I.L.M. 668 (entered into force 1 March 1992) [CSUA].

67. Gardner, supra note 29 at 809−818

68. Rome Statute, supra note 1, Preamble.

69. Ibid.

70. KLEIN, Natalie, Maritime Security and the Law of the Sea (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011) at 118127

BAIRD, Rachel, “Transnational Security Issues in the Asian Maritime Environment: Responding to Maritime Piracy” (2012) 66 Australian Journal of International Affairs 501

Bellamy, supra note 2

71. Crucial reports include those at supra note 48. Resolutions include 1846 (2008); 1851 (2008); 2020 (2011); and 2077 (2012). However, again the emphasis on the Somali pirates must be noted. While it is true that piracy originating from Somalia is having the greatest impact on international peace and security, attention should also be paid to combating piracy in other regions where it persists.

72. “UN Deputy Secretary-General Flags Need for ‘Multi-Dimensional’ Approach to Combating Piracy”, UN News Centre (19 November 2012), online: UN News Centre 〈http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43538#.UgIjyWTk64Q〉.

73. Statement by the President of the Security Council, UN Doc. S/PRST/2012/24 (2012).

74. Dua and Menkhaus, supra note 21 at 750

75. Decision Pursuant to Art. 15 of the Rome Statute on the Authorization of an Investigation into the Situation in the Republic of Kenya, Situation in the Republic of Kenya (ICC-01/09-19), Pre-Trial Chamber II, 31 March 2010 at para. 188 [Kenya Investigation Decision].

76. Ibid., at paras. 191−6.

77. Rome Statute, supra note 1, art. 7(1)(k).

78. CSUA, supra note 66, art. 3(2).

79. Rome Statute, supra note 1, art. 25(3)(d).

80. Ibid., art. 25(3)(b).

81. Dua and Menkhaus discuss IMB findings of the main Somali pirate groups, with commanders and a military structure; supra note 21 at 761.

82. Prosecutor v. Tadic, Decision on the Defence Motion for Interlocutory Appeal on Jurisdiction, Case No. IT-94-1, 2 October 1995, para. 70.

83. GUILFOYLE, Douglas, “The Laws of War and the Fight Against Somali Piracy: Combatants or Criminals?” (2010) 11 Melbourne Journal of International Law 141

Dua and Mekhaus, supra note 21 at 761

84. Antonio CASSESE, “Crimes Against Humanity” in Antonio CASSESE et al., eds., The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002)

Antonio CASSESE, International Criminal Law, 2nd edn. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008) at 99

DIXON, Rodney and HALL, Christopher K., “Crimes Against Humanity—Chapeau” in Otto TRIFFTERER, ed., Commentary on the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, 2nd edn. (Muenchen/Oxford/Baden-Baden: C.H. Beck, Hart, Nomos, 2008), at 176−178

Theodor MERON, “Crimes Under the Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court” in Herman VON HEBEL et al., eds., Reflections on the International Criminal Court (The Hague: TMC Asser Press, 1999)

Herman VON HEBEL and Darryl ROBINSON, “Crimes within the Jurisdiction of the Court” in Roy S. LEE, ed., The International Criminal Court: The Making of the Rome Statute (The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 1999)

85. Dixon and Hall, supra note 84 at 178

86. Prosecutor v. Kordic, Appeal Judgment, Case No. IT-95/14/2-A, 17 December 2004, 94. See also Prosecutor v. Blaskic, Appeal Judgment, Case No. IT-95-14-A, 29 July 2004, 101; Prosecutor v. Kunarac et al. (Foca), Appeal Judgment, Case No. IT-96-23 & IT-96-23/1-A, 12 June 2002, 94. The ICTR has used almost identical language: “the scale of the attacks and the multiplicity of the victims”; Prosecutor v. Muyunyi, Trial Judgment, Case No. ICTR-00-55AT, 12 September 2006, 512; Prosecutor v. Muhimana, Trial Judgment, Case No. ICTR-95-1B-T, 28 April 2005, 527; Prosecutor v. Semanza, Trial Judgment, Case No. ICTR-97-20-T, 15 May 2003, 329; Prosecutor v. Musema, Appeal Judgment, Case No. ICTR-96-13-A, 27 January 2000, 203−4. See also Katanga and Chui, Decision on the Confirmation of Charges, ICC-01/04-01/07, 30 September 2008 at 394; Kenya Investigation Decision, supra note 75 at 95.

87. From 16 December 2010 until 12 April 2011; Situation in the Republic of Cote D'Ivoire, Warrant Of Arrest For Laurent Koudou Gbagbo, Case No. ICC-02/11, 23 November 2011, at 7 and para. 7.

88. O'BRIEN, Melanie, “The Impact of the Iraq Communication of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on War Crimes Admissibility and the Interests of Victims” (2007) Symposium Edition, University College Dublin Law Review 109

O'BRIEN, Melanie, “Prosecutorial Discretion as an Obstacle to Prosecution of United Nations Peacekeepers by the International Criminal Court: The Big Fish/Small Fish Debate and the Gravity Threshold” (2012) 10 Journal of International Criminal Justice 525

89. Kordic, Appeal Judgment, supra note 86 at 94; Blaskic, Appeal Judgment, supra note 86 at 101; Foca, Appeal Judgment, supra note 86 at 96; RUF Case, supra note 84 at 78. See also Katanga and Chui, Confirmation of Charges, supra note 86 at 394, 397; Kenya Investigation Decision, supra note 75 at 96.

90. DANNER, Allison Marston, “Constructing a Hierarchy of Crimes in International Criminal Law Sentencing” (2001) 87 Virginia Law Review 415 at 474

91. Elements of Crimes, UN Doc. PCNICC/2000/1/Add.2 (2000), Article 7 Crimes Against Humanity, Introduction (3) [Elements of Crimes].

92. Katanga and Chui, Confirmation of Charges, supra note 86 at 396; Kenya Investigation Decision, supra note 75 at 84.

93. Gbagbo Arrest Warrant, supra note 87 at para. 7.

94. UN Monitoring Group Report 2012, supra note 11 at 195.

95. Ibid., at 198.

96. The excellent research by Dua and Menkhaus, including with Somali pirates, details all of these factors; supra note 21.

97. Kenya Investigation Decision, supra note 75.

98. Dua and Menkhaus, supra note 21 at 756−761

99. Kordic, Appeal Judgment, supra note 86 at 94; Blaskic, Appeal Judgment, supra note 86 at 101; Foca, Appeal Judgment, supra note 86 at 96.

100. Kordic, Appeal Judgment, supra note 86 at 94; Blaskic, Appeal Judgment, supra note 86 at 101; Foca, Appeal Judgment, supra note 86 at 96; Tadic, Trial Judgment, Case No. IT-94-1-T, 7 May 1997, 649; Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierra Bemba Gombo, Decision Pursuant to Article 61(7)(a) and (b) of the Rome Statute on the Charges of the Prosecutor Against Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo (Bemba charges decision), ICC-01/05-01/08, P.T.Ch.II, 15 June 2009, 77 and 81; Kenya Investigation Decision, supra note 75 at 81 and 85.

101. RUF case, supra note 84 at 1952. UNAMSIL was the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone, from 1999 until 2006.

102. Ibid., at 1953−4.

103. Ibid., at 1953.

104. Situation in the Republic of Cote D'Ivoire, Decision Pursuant to Article 15 of the Rome Statute on the Authorisation of an Investigation into the Situation in the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, Pre-Trial Chamber III, Case No. ICC-02/11, 3 October 2011, at para. 32.

105. Rome Statute, supra note 1, art. 7(1)(e).

106. Elements of Crimes, supra note 75; Prosecutor v. Kordić & Čerkez, Trial Judgement, IT-95-14/2-T, 26 February 2001, at para. 302.

107. Rome Statute, supra note 1, art. 7(2)(e).

108. See for example: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, UN Doc. A/56/156, 3 July 2001, paras. 8−14; ICCPR General Comment 7 (Sixteenth session, 1982): Article 7: Torture or Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, UN Doc. A/37/40 (1982) 94 at para. 2; Muteba v. Zaire, UN Doc. 124/1982 (24 July 1984); Gonzalez v. Uruguay, UN Doc. A/37/40 (29 March 1992); Arzuaga v. Uruguay, UN Doc. 147/1983 (1 November 1985); Herrera Rubio v. Colombia, UN Doc. 161/1983 (2 November 1987); Acosta v. Uruguay, UN Doc. 162/1983 (25 October 1988); A.R. v. The Netherlands (203/2002), CAT, A/59/44 (14 November 2003) 247 (CAT/C/31/D/203/2002).

109. Prosecutor v. Kunarac et al. (Foca), Trial Judgement, IT-96-23-T & IT-96-23/1-T, 22 February 2001, at paras. 766-−74.

110. Rome Statute, supra note 1, art. 7(1)(a).

111. Ibid., art. 17.

112. Ibid., art. 12.

113. Lotus case, supra note 43 at 25; UNCLOS, supra note 65, arts. 91, 92, 94.

114. Ian BROWNLIE, Principles of Public International Law, 7th edn. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008) at 304

115. David P. FORSYTHE, “International Criminal Justice and the United States: Law, Culture, Power” in Ramesh THAKUR and Peter MALCONTENT, eds., From Sovereign Impunity to International Accountability: The Search for Justice in a World of States (Tokyo/New York/Paris: United Nations University Press, 2004)

116. AKANDE, Dapo, “The Legal Nature of Security Council Referrals to the ICC and its Impact on Al Bashir's Immunities” (2009) 7 Journal of International Criminal Justice 333

117. “Security Council Stresses Need for Comprehensive Global Response to Tackle Piracy” UN News Centre (21 November 2012), online: UN News Centre 〈http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43569#.UgYz9mTk58A〉.

* BA/LLB (University of Newcastle, Australia); Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (University of Technology, Sydney, Australia); LLM in International Human Rights Law (University of Lund, Sweden); PhD (University of Nottingham, United Kingdom). Admitted Legal Practitioner (Supreme Court of NSW, Australia). Research Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. This paper is based on a paper delivered at the 2012 ANZSIL-AsianSIL Conference in Sydney, Australia. The author would like to thank Tamsin Page for a very useful discussion at that conference.

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