The Volokh Conspiracy

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Volokh Conspiracy

Pirates get booty in European Court of Human Rights


The BBC reports:

The European Court of Human Rights says France violated the rights of Somali pirates who had attacked French ships and has ordered compensation for them over judicial delays.

The nine Somali pirates should get thousands of euros because they were not immediately brought before a French judge, the court ruled.

One is to get 9,000 euros (£7,000) and the others sums of up to 7,000 euros.

The judges faulted France for keeping them in custody for an extra 48 hours.

The pirates had held French citizens hostage after seizing a French-flagged cruise ship and a French yacht in 2008.

Given that the average per capita income in Somalia is around $600, the decision could only incentivize piracy. This must have been the best 48 hours of their lives. Nor is this the first award given to Somali pirates by European courts on human rights grounds. I predicted problems like this, resulting from the collision of the old-fashioned international law against piracy and modern human rights law, in my article 'A Guantanamo on the Sea': The Difficulties of Prosecuting Pirates and Terrorists.