The Socio-Historical Case for the Existence of a Nexus Requirement in the Application of Universal Jurisdiction to Maritime Piracy

in Journal of the History of International Law / Revue d'histoire du droit international
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Abstract

This article provides a historical account of the application of universal jurisdiction to piracy jure gentium and details the nexus requirement. Prior work by Kontorovich and Art noted an increase in the application of universal jurisdiction concurrent with the rise of piracy off the coast of Somalia, yet did not address the historical case for the attribution of nexus to its application. This appears to be a non-sequitur, as the vast majority of scholars suggest that by definition the exercise of universal jurisdiction does not require a nexus. I argue that any presupposition of a lack of connection in the application of universality should be questioned, as not only is there a normative connection between the seizing and the adjudicating state, but that historically this has always been the case until just prior to the advent of third-party jurisdictional piracy courts in Kenya and the Seychelles that address Somali piracy, and only Somali piracy.

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