The Rights Of Pirates

Jolly RogerInteresting discussion at The Volokh Conspiracy, which was inspired by this, at the Times of London.

The Royal Navy … has been told by the Foreign Office not to detain pirates because doing so may breach their human rights.
Warships patrolling pirate-infested waters, such as those off Somalia, have been warned that there is also a risk that captured pirates could claim asylum in Britain.
The Foreign Office has advised that pirates sent back to Somalia could have their human rights breached because, under Islamic law, they face beheading for murder or having a hand chopped off for theft.

Head conspirator Eugene Volokh has a hard time wrapping his head around this idea.

Can this possibly be a correct summary of the Foreign Office directive? It’s one thing not to return the pirates to Somalia, but it’s quite another to instruct the Navy “not to detain” them. (They may, after all, be tried in places other than Somalia.) Can anyone point me to a more complete summary of the situation, or to the text of the Foreign Office directive? If the story is reasonably accurate, then this is just appalling.

Interesting. I’m certainly not a lawyer (I don’t even want to play one on the ‘net). But doesn’t it seem surprising that Britian, with it’s maritime traditions, would have a foreign office that advises this? And more surprising to me is that, since maritime law has centuries of precedent, and tradition behind it, tradition is overturned by, apparently, the European Court of Human Rights. Since when has tradition counted for so little is Europe?

Tradition? What the heck am I saying? Since when has sovereignty counted for so little in Britain?

Explore posts in the same categories: foreign, politics, post-modernism

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