In recent years the international community has engaged in an unprecedented joint naval effort to combat piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia. This paper examines the legal basis of the multinational police missions deployed in Somali territorial and internal waters and the law applicable to their operations. Subsequently it discusses the scope of domestic criminal jurisdiction to try Somali pirates and armed robbers and the mechanisms for transferring suspects to the authorities of the prosecuting State. The responsibility of States and international organizations for wrongful acts allegedly perpetrated in the course of these counterpiracy operations is also assessed. Stressing the peculiarity of the Somali case and highlighting both the achievements and shortcomings of the missions authorised by the UN Security Council, it is argued that the “Somali strategy” is unlikely to be replicated elsewhere and is particularly unsuitable for the new hotbeds of piracy and armed robbery: the Gulf of Guinea and Indonesia.