Good Company

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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Pirates on the radio

Go to WNYC - The Leonard Lopate Show: Dread Pirates and listen to a "legal scholar" discuss piracy and terrorism.

Update: I don't agree that the pirates of the Malacca Strait are not "terrorists" in that I believe that the purposes for which the "sea robbery" and kidnappings are used is determinative e.g there's a difference between robbing to get money to support your family (that's robbery) and using money to fund terrorist related activities (that's terrorism). And, Professor, the Strait of Malacca is not controlled by China, much as they might like it to be. See, it's surrounded by Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.

And a link to his article here.
INTERNATIONAL LAW LACKS A DEFINITION FOR TERRORISM as a crime. According to Secretary General Kofi Annan, this lack has hampered "the moral authority of the United Nations and its strength in condemning" the scourge.

But attempts to provide a definition have failed because of terrorists' strangely hybrid status in the law. They are neither ordinary criminals nor recognized state actors, so there is almost no international or domestic law dealing with them. This gives an out to countries that harbor terrorists and declare them "freedom fighters." It also lets the United States flout its own constitutional safeguards by holding suspects captive indefinitely at Guantánamo Bay. The overall situation is, in a word, anarchic. ..
Coming up with such a framework would perhaps seem impossible, except that one already exists. Dusty and anachronistic, perhaps, but viable all the same. More than 2,000 years ago, Marcus Tullius Cicero defined pirates in Roman law as hostis humani generis, "enemies of the human race." From that day until now, pirates have held a unique status in the law as international criminals subject to universal jurisdiction—meaning that they may be captured wherever they are found, by any person who finds them. The ongoing war against pirates is the only known example of state vs. nonstate conflict until the advent of the war on terror, and its history is long and notable. More important, there are enormous potential benefits of applying this legal definition to contemporary terrorism.
Works for me.

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