Somali pirates as agents of change in international law and organisation

Date & time
5.30–6.30pm Thursday 28 February 2013
Dr Douglas Guilfoyle, Reader in Law, University College London


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Somali pirate attacks on world shipping are finally declining: but what explains this, and what does it tell us about international law and organisation? Both Somali piracy and counter-piracy efforts have proven highly adaptive. Somali pirates have been agents of international change, but largely at the level of generating new models of cooperation and soft-law. But to what extent are the forms of international cooperation that have emerged particularly new or effective? This talk will consider a series of shifts: the move from a military approach to law enforcement operations; from unilateral enforcement to transnational coordination; from reliance on formal organizations to informal coordinating bodies; and from maritime law-enforcement to land-based operations, including criminal justice reform. However, industry and market based measures may have proven the most effective in suppressing piracy—and pirates themselves may now be looking for new markets to enter.

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