Where Should Somali Pirates Be Tried?

by Julian Ku

There has been tons of commentary on the pirate thing now, so there is little more to add.  Except that there is a brewing debate about where to try the remaining captured Somali pirate.  In theory, the pirate could be tried before a military commission, if Obama wished, but I somehow doubt that his going to happen (although if he does, I would love to see Neal Katyal and Marty Lederman be assigned to draft that executive order).   So the choice is Kenya (where he will probably receive a light sentence) or the U.S. (where he will get lots of useful constitutional rights and where many of the naval personnel will have to give testimony).  I don’t think either choice will likely create much deterrence of future piracy.  I still think the most effective choices are “self help” or, as Eric Posner argues, just paying the ransoms. The Navy saved the day this time, but they can’t be everywhere.

http://opiniojuris.org/2009/04/13/where-should-somali-pirates-be-tried/

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  1. […] these posts at the Volokh Conspiracy detailing the problems with prosecuting pirates (as Julian Ku notes, it isn’t even clear where the lone survivor of the attack on the Maersk Alabama will be […]