The Enemy of All: Piracy and the Law of Nations

Stephen Sedley writes:

Although he knows of the Gordon case, Daniel Heller-Roazen appears not to understand all this. Since his chair at Princeton is in comparative literature, this would be unsurprising if his book were what for much of its length it appears to be: an elegantly composed and widely researched survey of the treatment of piracy in the literature of ancient and modern Europe. But the book is in fact a polemic: it argues that the unlawful combatant is the modern pirate, an aggressor without a state, at large on the sea or in the air or on land and, like the pirate, the enemy of all mankind. The argument assumes, first, that the status of an unlawful combatant can be determined without due process and second that, once so classified, an individual has neither civil nor military rights.

(LRB 24 June 2010)

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