General Question

oratio's avatar

Why is Wali-i-Musi (the somalian pirate), taken to the US?

Asked by oratio (8920points) April 21st, 2009

I am not opposed to the somali pirate being taken to the US to be tried. I am just curious about what makes it that it’s in the jurisdiction of american law.

Does international maritime law say so? Does the nationality of the ship where it’s based make it a part of that countries territory, like the case with an embassy? Will then captured pirates routinely be taken to these countries to be tried? If somalia wouldn’t have been in disarray, would he have been tried there?

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10 Answers

lukiarobecheck's avatar

Because he helped Hijack an American Ship. Or at least that is what I have been reading.

oratio's avatar

@lukiarobecheck Yes. Thanks for the answer, but that’s not what I was asking. If a crime is commited against an american or american property in France, the criminals will not be tried in the US.

I just wondered if the sole reason is, that he can’t be tried in that non-existent justice system of Somalia, or if there are other reasons.

EnzoX24's avatar

I think because it was such a highly monitored event through the media, the government feels like it is their place to take it into their own hands.

oratio's avatar

@EnzoX24 Yes, that sounds reasonable. A show of resolve.

DrBill's avatar

It was a crime against an American ship in international waters.

oratio's avatar

Ok, I didn’t know it was attacked in international waters, I assumed that it was in somali territorial waters.

DrBill's avatar

International waters start at only 3 Kilometers from shore

oratio's avatar

@DrBill It doesn’t seem like that is correct. I find that it is 22 km out from land.

I don’t know where the attacked occurred but if it was in the Gulf of Aden it would be in somalian or yemen waters.

It appears that if it was in international water the attack occurred then it was quite some distance west of the african horn. But it looks like they have widened they attacks due to the military build up in the area, so I guess it’s quite possible.

tonedef's avatar

Well, Wikipedia says that “The New York Daily News… report he will be charged, and stand trial in New York because of the expertise of the New York FBI office in handling cases where major crimes were perpetrated against Americans in Africa.”

I still don’t understand. That doesn’t address the matter of jurisdiction in the slightest. It looks like this is only one issue among many:

“I think in this particular case, there’s a grave question as to whether America was in violation of principles of truce in warfare on the high seas,” said Kuby. “This man seemed to come onto the Bainbridge under a flag of truce to negotiate. He was then captured. There is a question whether he is lawfully in American custody and serious questions as to whether he can be prosecuted because of his age.”

lefteh's avatar

It has long been an international gentlemen’s agreement that every nation has the authority to establish jurisdiction in the realm of piracy, as it is universally illegal. This is without regard to the nationality of the pirates or the ships involved. For more on this, see the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas and the 1957 (I think?) Geneva Convention on the High Seas. The UN Security Council also recently extended this convention to apply to Somali waters.

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