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2010 | 2(184) | 37-65

Article title

Maritime piracy and maritime terrorism


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The piracy possesses very long history and for some time has been recognized as a crime of the past. The renewed of its occurrence threatened to the international commerce and maritime safety. Illegal activities at sea can be divided in two groups: piratical activities and armed robbery at sea and acts of terrorism. International law has not one unified definition of the piracy. General frames helpful in defining are established in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea which however by instituting conditions „for private ends” and „on the high seas”, restricts its use. Illegal acts of violence with relation to the ship, outside the high sea are defined by the International Maritime Organization, as armed robbery at sea to which the universal jurisdiction, is not in force. The key element that allows differentiating the piracy and the terrorism at sea is the motive. Pirates make it for the profit, and sea-terrorists are to gain, so called, the effect of the theatre. It should be noted that states directly subject by piratical attacks are rather reluctant to accusing and the sentencing of pirates in national courts in consideration of the complicated legal character of such matters and the necessity of assuring of the suitable standards of human rights. The question stays whether the international law gives sufficient grounds for accusing, sentencing and punishing of captive pirates. Despite of the undertaken activities, pirates often go free because of the lack of legal bases or the political will for sentencing. The present elaboration tries to systematize the definition of the widely understood piracy and describes mainstreams of activities undertaken by the international community, targeting the fight with this problem





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  • Instytut Nauk Prawnych PAN, ul. Nowy Świat 72, 00-330 Warszawa


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Publication order reference


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