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date: 23 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the use of force against piracy in the context of international law, with particular reference to the pirates off Somalia. It discusses the counter-piracy activities by multinational military forces under the applicable public international law of the sea and as law enforcement operations. It also considers the issues raised by the use of force by private merchant vessels in self-defence, including the use of privately contracted armed security personnel. The chapter reviews the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the legal regime applicable at sea and ashore within Somalia itself. It also analyses the Council’s authorization of states to use ‘all necessary means to repress acts of piracy and armed robbery’ within Somalia’s territorial sea.

Keywords: use of force, piracy, international law, pirate, Somalia, counter-piracy, private merchant vessel, self-defence, UN Security Council, territorial sea

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