Emory International Law Review


George White


This commentary seeks to explain and evaluate the reasoning behind the recent finding, in United States v. Ali Mohamed Ali, that acts amounting to the intentional facilitation or incitement of piracy can constitute piracy in international law, and are subject to universal jurisdiction, even when those acts occurred within the territorial jurisdiction of a State. It argues that the decision has a sound basis in the orthodox rules of treaty interpretation. Although some have argued that universal jurisdiction can inhere over acts of piracy only where those acts of piracy occur beyond territorial jurisdiction, there is a strong legal and principled basis for the contrary conclusion. The decision invites a wider discussion of the limits of "intentional facilitation," brief consideration of which suggests that the lack of a high seas requirement is likely to be expedient and unproblematic.