This article deals with the problem of combating international crime related to violence at sea. The question addressed is whether, according to public international law, all violent acts in the maritime domain, such as maritime piracy, drug trafficking, human trafficking and maritime terrorism, can be combined into one legal concept. In order to answer this question, this article takes the traditional notion of “piracy” in the sense used in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention and explores the possibility of the notion being extended to encompass the other forms of crime to a concept of “universal maritime crime”. Jurisdictional issues, the difficulties of incorporating the resulting concept into domestic criminal legislation and challenges related to the prosecution of alleged criminals, such as due process and human rights issues, are also considered.
Published on 14 January2010. Wet 30 december 2009 betreffende de strijd tegen piraterij op zee bs 14 januari 2010 zoals gewijzigd op 16 januari 2013 (Belgian anti-piracy act of 30 December 2009 published in the Belgian official gazette on 14 January 2010 as amended by the Act of 16 January 2013).
As of 21 January2016166States had ratified sua representing 94.45% of the world merchant shipping tonnage (Source: International Maritime Organization available at: http://www.imo.org/en/About/Conventions/StatusOfConventions/Pages/Default.aspx accessed 3 February 2016).
2005 Protocol (London 14 October2005in force 28 July 2010) imo Doc. leg/conf.15/21 to the 1988 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (n 42) [hereinafter 2005 sua Protocol].
As of 21 January201640States had ratified the 2005 Protocol representing 39.06% of the world merchant shipping tonnage (Source: International Maritime Organization available at: http://www.imo.org/en/About/Conventions/StatusOfConventions/Pages/Default.aspx accessed 3 February 2016).
29 January2009annexed to imo Doc. c 102/4.
Rb. Rotterdam 17 juni2010Case No. 10/600012–09 reprinted and translated in 145 International Law Reports 491. Cited by Gardner (n 38) at p. 799.
On 12 October2000the u.s. Navy Destroyer uss Cole was refueling in the Yemeni port of Aden when suicide terrorists exploded a small boat alongside the vessel. The blast ripped a 40-foot-wide hole near the waterline killing 17 American sailors. See http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/history/famous-cases/uss-cole accessed 8 February 2016.
On 6 October2002the French supertanker Limburg chartered to the Malaysian oil firm Petronas was approaching the Yemeni port of Mina al-Dabah when it was rammed by a small high-speed vessel causing a huge explosion. See http://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/oct/07/alqaida.france accessed 8 February 2016.
ECtHR (Grand Chamber)Medvedyev and Othersv. France Appl. No. 3394/03 29 March 2010 Judgment (Medvedyev).