Bringing Pirates to Justice
U.S. Navy & Coast Guard team searches vessel in Gulf of Aden, Oct. 15, 2009. [DOD/ U.S. Navy Photo]

About the Author: Jennifer Landsidle is an Attorney-Adviser in the Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser.

The United States has long recognized that any effective strategy against piracy off the coast of Somalia must include a plan to ensure that those who commit acts of piracy are held accountable for their actions. Secretary Clinton has called for a comprehensive review of our counter-piracy strategy and one key aspect of that policy review is enhancing our ability to prosecute and incarcerate pirates.

Today, almost 1,000 suspected Somali pirates detained by international naval patrols are in custody in 18 states around the world. This includes 28 suspects brought to the United States for prosecution in U.S. courts for attacks on U.S. vessels. Despite these efforts, we continue to face a number of challenges that hinder our ability to bring pirates to justice. In response,… more »