Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Presented at the 7th Cornell Inter-University Graduate Student Conference, April 2011.


Piracy it is not a phenomenon of the past. Modern piracy has become a profitable business, especially off the coast of Somalia, where thousands of pirates are currently involved in criminal activity targeting all kinds of vessels from fishing boats to oil supertankers. Only in 2009, Somali pirates committed about 217 attempted and actual attacks. As a response, the UN Security Council has passed several resolutions authorising military raids against pirates "on land and by air" and requested the Secretary-General to submit a report offering effective counter-piracy measures. Drafted in July 2010, the "Report on possible options to further the aim of prosecuting and imprisoning persons responsible for acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia" suggested seven possible methods. Five of the proposed options offered to set up domestic legal institutes in one or another form with or without UN involvement; the other two suggested to establish an international tribunal either on the basis of UN-sponsored agreement or under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. This paper analyses the following aspects of the problem of combating piracy: piracy under the law of nations and contemporary definitions; the causes of states' practical inability to deal with jus cogens crime of piracy; existing and possible solutions to the problem of piracy on international, regional and national level.

Date of Authorship for this Version



Piracy, Somalia