Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



For hundreds of years, the world has allowed any nation-state to exercise universal jurisdiction over high seas piracy. This has been recently codified by the United Nations in the Convention on the Law of the Seas. It has been almost universally assumed that allowing states to do this was legitimate. As this Note will argue, however, the reasons for allowing states to exercise jurisdiction in this way no longer make sense in the modern world. Further, allowing states to exercise universal jurisdiction over pirates violates the due process rights of the pirates and poses a threat to international stability. To address these concerns, this Note proposes prohibiting states from exercising universal jurisdiction over pirates and instead requiring that states wishing to exercise jurisdiction over pirates base that jurisdiction on a more traditional jurisdictional form