Using force on land to suppress piracy at sea : the legal landscape of a largely untapped strategy
Steven R. Obert
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Duke journal of comparative and international law, Vol. 25, issue 2, Winter 2014, p. 197-236
This paper analyzes the international legal framework underlying the use of force on land in Somalia to eliminate the pirates’ means of carrying out lethal attacks at sea. Part I addresses the fundamental question of whether the use of military force against pirates and their bases ashore is legally supportable. The author argues that because the Security Council has authorized “all necessary measures” pursuant to Somali government consent, the use of force in Somalia to accomplish the goal of suppressing piracy at sea is authorized, consistent with the limitations set forth in the applicable Resolutions. After concluding that the Security Council’s mandate includes military force, Part II examines what body of law would apply to the practical implementation of that mandate. The author concludes that even if this unique scenario does not rise to the level of an armed conflict, there are significant reasons why International Humanitarian Law (IHL), also known as the Law of Armed Conflict (or LOAC), should be found to apply to the limited use of force in Somalia.
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