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Counter Piracy Armed Services, the Italian System and the Search for Clarity on the Use of Force at Sea

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There seems to be a broad consensus that maritime piracy is causing serious harm to life and property and to the safety of navigation. Nevertheless, it appears that the international community and affected States lack a coherent and coordinated approach to counter piracy. This article examines the increasingly emerging use of armed security services on board of civilian vessels. Italy, like other flag States fearing a significant threat to well-defined domestic interests, has begun to authorize the deployment of security personnel on national vessels navigating in international waters infested by pirates. However, according to the author, to avoid the consequent predictable escalation of violence at sea and the possible breach of human rights law applicable to suspected pirates, States are required to adopt proper legislative frameworks that duly regulate the actions of embarked armed services.


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