Ota Ulč - Further remarks about piracy (Abbreviated)

5-6 2009 Ostatní English
obálka čísla

International law defines piracy as a “violent act in international waters by a private vessel against another vessel for the purpose of plunder (animus furandi)”. Piracy became international crime (just like slave trade), and pirates were defined as “outcasts of humanity” and every country given the right to prosecute them – i.e. to try and to hang. A lot has happened and changed over the years, especially recently.

An article in the Times entitled No Surrender to Thugs praises the decisive act of the SEALS to rescue Captain Phillips from the pirates, which President Obama allowed after some initial hesitation.

I wish to quote here an article by Mackubin Thomas Owens, professor at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I.: “In 2008, the International Maritime Bureau registered 293 cases of piracy, most of them near Somalia. However, so far, most of the governments, businessmen and insurance companies – except those of USA and France – prefer to pay ransom to the pirates. It is cheaper than training and arming crews. A serious international crime has been devaluated to a mere annoyance.”

What is important is the will and willingness of all countries to act, to do something sensible and reasonable.

One can use history as inspiration. Piracy plagued humanity for a long time, until the 19th century, when the British Navy controlled the seas, and took decisive action against the pirates. The pirates’ships were sunk and their harbors and retreats on land were destroyed. As a result, there was peace and quiet on the waters for many years.

The world now tries to delegate this necessary, yet hardly enviable role, to the United States, while at the same time getting ready to criticize her for “superpower arrogance”. Yet the USA cannot solve this problem alone.

I did not expect that the self-destructive stupidities of political correctness would reach as far as the pirates. The previously-mentioned author, Mr. Owens, corrected my thinking. It appears that contemporary legal thinking is vastly different from the old one. People like Grotius, Vattel or Locke are also devaluated. Pirates are no longer outcasts of humanity- no way- on the contrary! And I quote: “Members of the navies of European countries were advised to avoid capturing Somalian pirates in consideration of the European Human Rights Act, which orders that any captured pirate is to be afforded the status of a refugee with stated rights and protections.” Therefore, pirates are no longer considered outcasts of humanity, but privileged, politically- correctly spoiled poor devils.

Now I am really curious whether slave traders – the other group of international thugswill in time also be given this thoughtful reevaluation.

Ota Ulc
Transl. by Marie Dolanska

Vydavatelem Českého dialogu je Mezinárodní český klub

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