Sunday, April 26, 2009

Whack a Dolt: "The Pirate and the Talk Show Lawyer"

Nice take down of a pirate defense lawyer wannabe at ExportLawBlog in "The Pirate and the Talk Show Lawyer":
Of course, that hasn’t stopped lawyer-turned-radio-host Ron Kuby, who is seeking to defend Muse, from trying to concoct a dubious theory questioning U.S. jurisdiction over Muse.

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. 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.
Presumably this is a reference to Article 32 of the 1907 Hague Convention Respecting the Law and Customs of War on Land (Hague IV), which at least might arguably be said to also state the international law regarding wars at sea. That provision states:

A person is regarded as a parlementaire who has been authorized by one of the belligerents to enter into communication with the other, and who advances bearing a white flag. He has a right to inviolability, as well as the trumpeter, bugler or drummer, the flag-bearer and interpreter who may accompany him.
Even leaving aside the formality of the white flag, and there is no indication that Muse carried one, Hague IV and the international law governing conflicts at sea only applies to nations at war. Historically pirates have been considered hostes humani generis (”enemies of all mankind”) and completely outside protection of maritime law. Conventions relating to the conduct of war by nations have no application to them. Instead, the only protections that pirates have are those set forth in the UNCLOS and the 1958 Convention on the High Seas, both of which give the pirates a right to a trial.
The initial court hearing seems to have taken care of the age issue (here).

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