Universal jurisdiction as obligation to prosecute or extradite

Before searching for new legal solutions to manage maritime piracy problems, especially those related to jurisdiction, it is essential to examine and analyse the existing international legal framework to determine whether current international legal instruments are already appropriate to face off this threat. One such principle is the “Aut dedere aut iudicare” principle, which has been also codified into SUA Convention, at art. 6 par. 4. This obligation comes from an international treaty, so it cannot be disregarded by any state (short of becoming susceptible to international liability), neither can it be amended by a national law. If a state party has inadequate law resources to establish its jurisdiction, or if unable or unwilling to prosecute the pirate, then such state party has no choice but extradite the pirate. If we consider the above principle as a conventional obligation, then it should be limited only to state parties, and it should be applied only under conditions stated by SUA Convention. Instead, if we consider it as a customary law principle, because piracy—as crimen iuris gentium—offends international community as a whole, then such principle shall be binding without any limit or condition.

  • Record URL:
  • Availability:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • © World Maritime University 2012. The contents of this paper reflect the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Transportation Research Board or the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Authors:
    • Del Chicca, Matteo
  • Publication Date: 2012-4


  • English

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01606701
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 16 2016 9:22AM