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date: 28 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter notes that legal literature and States have built upon Cicero’s legacy of pirates as hostes humani generis, extending to other acts the legal consequences attached to them (criminalization and universal jurisdiction): slave-trade or enslavement, war crimes, crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and terrorism. Piracy, slavery, and other acts or activities that are nowadays considered criminal were not necessarily in other times. The theoretical distinction between piracy and privateering blurred in practice. International law provided arguments and legal foundations to address the repression of pirates, slavers, and other criminals before 1945; yet law-enforcement practice also offered arguments to prevent their criminal prosecution on a universal jurisdiction basis.

Keywords: piracy, slavery, Cicero, criminalization, international law, war crimes, terrorism

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