what shall we do with the captive pirates?
Daniel Sekulich has a very interesting opinion piece on prosecuting pirates.
It’s a tough one: now the US navy has some pirates in custody (and there’s no question that they’re pirates: they fired on the vessel that captured them: that’s the definition of piracy right there) it has to decide what to do with them. And that’s a highly interesting question, partly because it’s a test of the resolve of the new administration. We all know Bush would’ve done the easy but wrong thing: declared them enemy combatants and added them to the oubliette. But, we believe, Obama does not wish to engage in tyranny. So the harder but right path means either taking responsibility for trying them within some national jurisdiction (but where?) or turning them over to some body established for the purpose. Like, for instance, the International Criminal Court.
Except that Clinton said he wouldn’t have anything to do with the ICC; he said that, in fact, should a US serviceman face trial before it, he would invade Europe (no, really).
So will Obama have to attempt to set up some novel international legal body in order to try these men? Or will he find some go-between state willing to take the heat (and maybe lock the men up in Gitmo-like conditions but not under the US flag)? Or will he take them to US territory for trial, and if the latter, what kinds of legal precedents would that set?
I confess, I do not see a universally diplomatically pleasing solution to this