WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 83–93 | Cite as

Universal jurisdiction as obligation to prosecute or extradite

  • Matteo Del ChiccaEmail author


Before searching for new legal solutions to manage maritime piracy problems, especially those related to jurisdiction, it is essential to examine and analyse the existing international legal framework to determine whether current international legal instruments are already appropriate to face off this threat. One such principle is the “Aut dedere aut iudicare” principle, which has been also codified into SUA Convention, at art. 6 par. 4. This obligation comes from an international treaty, so it cannot be disregarded by any state (short of becoming susceptible to international liability), neither can it be amended by a national law. If a state party has inadequate law resources to establish its jurisdiction, or if unable or unwilling to prosecute the pirate, then such state party has no choice but extradite the pirate. If we consider the above principle as a conventional obligation, then it should be limited only to state parties, and it should be applied only under conditions stated by SUA Convention. Instead, if we consider it as a customary law principle, because piracy—as crimen iuris gentium—offends international community as a whole, then such principle shall be binding without any limit or condition.


Universal jurisdiction principle Aut dedere aut iudicare principle 

Copyright information

© World Maritime University 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.“D. Anzilotti” International Law Institute, Public Law Department, Faculty of LawUniversity of PisaPisaItaly

Personalised recommendations