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Effectiveness of the international mode of the fight against maritime piracy

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The legal definition of piracy was initially raised by the 1958 Convention on the High Seas. The rules and essential foundations of this regime have been introduced mainly by the Convention on the Law of the Sea, Montego Bay, 1982, and were adopted in the United Nations framework. According to those standards, piracy is an act of violence from a private vessel on the high seas, or any other place not under the jurisdiction of any state, for personal reasons, and is conducted against persons or property on a ship other than the one from which the action is undertaken.

The incidence of piracy recorded by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in its annual reports varies from one region to another. The seas of East and South East Asia are most at risk (40% of total cases), but other hot-spots are the Strait of Malacca, Somalia or Latin America. Faced with this wave of piracy and the increasing violence in its aftermath, one questions the legal response made against a recurrence of those acts and whether the international regime has introduced a real impact.

In the context previously established, it was decided that the jurisdiction for the punishment of such acts lies with States. Indeed, any State may, under section 105 of the said Convention, "on the high seas or in any other place outside the jurisdiction of any State, enter a pirate ship or aircraft, captured as a result of an act of piracy and the hands of pirates, and arrest the persons and seize the property on board.

Tags: International Maritime Organization, international regime, Convention on the Law of the Sea

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