“Piracy” is frequently referred to as the quintessential example of “internationalcriminal law.” But, despite the rhetoric, examples of any legal results flowing from that characterization are very rare. The First Americans tatute relating to “piracy” was passed in 1790 and immediately ran into difficulties. It provides, in its section 12, for example, for designating as “pirates” those giving assistance to “pirates.” Among the first defendants were two pilots (surnamed Howard and Beebee) in Delaware who had guided a suspicions vessel to anchorage (in 1818 the case is in 3 [Bushrod] Washington 340). The two defendants were acquitted by a jury. The second statute, which survives today (18 U.S. Code §1651), was passed in 1819 (3 Stat. [1850 ed.] 510) and continued in 1820 (3 Stat. [1850 ed.] 600). It tries to avoid the problems of the 1790 statute by making criminal at United States law “piracy as defined by the law of nations.” Since, as noted below, there is no clear definition of piracy under the presumed “law of nations,” this amounts to delegating to judges the capacity to define a “crime” after it is committed. But “common law crimes,” while theoretically possible, have not been considered a proper basis for criminal prosecution in the United States since 1816 (U.S. v. Coolidge, 14 U.S. [1 Wheaton] 415 ). It is an interesting sidelight on this discussion that the American jurist most insistent on maintaining the validity of the statute of 1819 was Joseph Story (see U.S. v. Smith, 18 U.S. [5 Wheaton] 20 ), who dissented from U.S. v. Coolidge in 1816. Above the current (1936) codification of the law of 1820, the following note appears: “In light of far reaching developments in the field of international law and foreign relations, the law of piracy is deemed to require a fundamental reconsideration and complete restatement, perhaps resulting in drastic changes by way of modification and expansion…” There has been no known criminal conviction under the 1820 statute for over a century, although it has been discussed in several cases.
World Governance: Do We Need It, Is It Possible, What Could It (All) Mean? One of the main objections raised against world governance is not that it is impractical, but that it is unnecessary and even undesirable. There is a fear that world government would be or become tyrannical. German philosopher Immanuel Kant devised a project of "perpetual peace," but he was against a world state, advocating instead a kind of confederation of the states in the world. Finally, if a world government is indeed formed, how far should the instruments and tools of such a body reach? These and other issues have been explored in this book. Covering a wide range of disciplines - from philosophy to jurisprudence, ethics, and social science - the book explores how theorists have reflected upon the necessary components of an effective global order.