Monday, January 18, 2010

Kill the Pirates

There's actually a major newspaper with the courage to publish advice that should be obvious. I was surprised to see the title, "Put Pirates to the Sword," in today's Wall Street Journal.  Believe it or not, it is actually written by lawyer, Sandeep Gopalan at the National University of Ireland. Here are a few key excerpts,
Prosecution can only be a small part of the fight against piracy. The main weapon has to be ruthless force.
For some reason we've forgotten the lessons of centuries of anti-piracy operations.
confusion over the legal authority to use lethal force has emboldened pirates.
Exactly. Pirates aren't stupid. They understand risk vs. reward. Currently the risk of death, or even imprisonment is small, while the potential rewards of piracy are high.
Naval officers and others need not hesitate to use lethal force against pirates: The United Nations Security Council passed resolution 1851 in December 2008 authorizing states to take "all necessary measures—that are appropriate in Somalia, for the purpose of suppressing acts of piracy." This resolution was issued under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter and should serve as a sufficient legal basis to kill pirates. Further, the law of self-defense ought to cover the use of lethal force against pirates boarding ships armed with lethal weapons.
If basic common sense, tradition, and results aren't enough, there's even a legal argument to be made.
It is regrettable that the failure of the legal system to bring pirates to justice effectively has created a perverse incentive to kill rather than prosecute. Until Somalia has a legal system capable of convicting pirates, killing them is the only option.
Gopalan's recommendations are so blindingly obvious, and have been made by plenty of others, that it is almost certain they will continue to be ignored.

1 comment:

  1. I say give them what Eustace the Monk got in 1217: summary execution on the spot.