“You don’t need a peg leg or an eye patch,” Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote for the unanimous three-judge panel. “When you ram ships; hurl glass containers of acid; drag metal-reinforced ropes in the water to damage propellers and rudders; launch smoke bombs and flares with hooks; and point high-powered lasers at other ships, you are, without a doubt, a pirate, no matter how high-minded you believe your purpose to be.”
And with that very clear explanation, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has declared Paul Watson and his supporters pirates.
Being declared pirates on the high seas isn’t just a label, it means that the Sea Shepherd and its crew are now sitting duck without any protection from the courts.
Under a principle of international law known as the “universality principle”, a government may “exercise jurisdiction over conduct outside its territory if that conduct is universally dangerous to states and their nationals.”
The rationale behind the universality principle is that states will punish certain acts “wherever they may occur as a means of protecting the global community as a whole, even absent a link between the state and the parties or the acts in question.”
Under this principle, the concept of “universal jurisdiction” applies to the crime of piracy. For example, the United States has a statute (section 1651 of title 18 of the United States Code) imposing a sentence of life in prison for piracy “as defined by the law of nations” committed anywhere on the high seas, regardless of the nationality of the pirates or the victims. — Wikipedia
The Japanese Government has put a military vessel with armed helicopters in the area, and I for one can’t wait for the Sea Shepherd to test how serious they are.
Source: MyFox Houston