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Chapter 16. Korea’s Trial of Somali Pirates

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Chapter Summary

This chapter gives an overview of the case and seeks to evaluate the Korean criminal law system in relation to it and indicates lessons learned. The executive jurisdiction exercised by the Cheonghae Unit in subduing the pirates may be grounded in Article 105 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982, (LOSC) and various Security Council resolutions in international law, but their basis in domestic legislation is unclear. Despite physical assaults by the Samho Jewelry sailors during the arrest, the Korean soldiers did nothing to prevent the acts occurring. In March, following a conference with the court appointed lawyers, all the pirates except Hussein Mahamud requested a jury trial. The jury was comprised of nine Busan residents who could attend the entire hearing and three reserve members and, to ensure efficient proceedings, provided three English interpreters and two Somali interpreters.

Keywords: Cheonghae Unit; jurisdiction; Korean criminal law system; LOSC; Somali pirates



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