Aside

Am I a pirate or a bandit? quick check

Technically, piracy is an act directed at a private sea/air craft that occurs outside the jurisdiction of any one state (international waters or airspace). Once you have committed such an act, however, you can be declared a pirate for acts within a state that would otherwise be considered kidnapping or banditry. This out-of-state definition means pirates (as “common enemies of all”) can be arrested and detained universally – that is, by any country. Though any one country should be able to prosecute pirates by the same logic, the actual legal logistics are unclear – in part because of freerider, capacity, and diplomacy problems related to the work of bringing a potential pirate to trial and jailing him/her if necessary. “One proposal is to form a regional legal center that would be able to apply its own laws to the cases, interact with foreign navies, and have the capacity to incarcerate convicted pirates in a prison system and to return others safely to their home nations. The US supports such a “piracy chamber,” Mr. [Andrew J.] Shapiro [assistant secretary of state] said.”

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