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Article

Access_open Armed On-board Protection of Dutch Vessels: Not Allowed Yet But Probably Forthcoming

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2018
Keywords vessel protection, private armed guards, state monopoly on force, masters position, state control
Authors Paul Mevis and Sari Eckhardt
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article provides an overview of the developments about the armed on-board protection of Dutch vessels under Dutch law. The Dutch position has changed over the years. In 2011, the starting point was that private security companies (PSCs) are not to be allowed. It was expected that adequate protection of Dutch vessels could be provided by vessel protection detachments (VPDs). Although not considered as an absolute statutory bar, the state monopoly on force was considered the main argument against PSCs. After optimising the use of VPDs and given the development in other countries, the approach changed into a ‘VPS, unless …’-approach. Under the new Protection of Merchant Shipping Act that is expected to come into force in the second half of 2019, PSCs can be employed only if no VPS is available. This article gives an overview of the argumentation in this change of view over the years. It also explores the headlines, criteria and procedures of the new law and some other topics, including the position of the master under the upcoming law. In line with the other country reports, it enables the comparative study in the last article of this special issue.


Paul Mevis
Paul Mevis is professor of criminal law and criminal procedure at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Sari Eckhardt
Sari Eckhardt holds a master’s degree in criminal law and has worked as a student assistant at the Rotterdam Erasmus University’s Department of Criminal Law and is currently working at De Bont Advocaten.
Article

Access_open Armed On-board Protection of German Ships (and by German Companies)

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2018
Keywords German maritime security, private armed security, privately contracted armed security personnel, anti-piracy-measures, state oversight
Authors Tim R. Salomon
AbstractAuthor's information

    Germany reacted to the rise of piracy around the Horn of Africa not only by deploying its armed forces to the region, but also by overhauling the legal regime concerning private security providers. It introduced a dedicated licensing scheme mandatory for German maritime security providers and maritime security providers wishing to offer their services on German-flagged vessels. This legal reform resulted in a licensing system with detailed standards for the internal organisation of a security company and the execution of maritime security services. Content wise, the German law borrows broadly from internationally accepted standards. Despite deficits in state oversight and compliance control, the licensing scheme sets a high standard e.g. by mandating that a security team must consist of a minimum of four security guards. The lacking success of the scheme suggested by the low number of companies still holding a license may be due to the fact that ship-owners have traditionally been reluctant to travel high-risk areas under the German flag. Nevertheless, the German law is an example of a national regulation that has had some impact on the industry at large.


Tim R. Salomon
The author is a legal adviser to the German Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) and currently seconded to the German Federal Constitutional Court.
Article

Access_open On-board Protection of Merchant Vessels from the Perspective of International Law

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2018
Keywords piracy, international law, law of the sea, on-board protection of merchant vessels, use of force
Authors Birgit Feldtmann
AbstractAuthor's information

    The power to regulate on-board protection of merchant vessels lies with the flag state. However, the national models of regulation are not developed in a unilateral vacuum. In fact, the whole concept of flag state jurisdiction and legislative power has to be understood and exercised on the national level in close relation with the general regime of the international law of the sea. The aim of the article is therefore two-fold: first, it aims to provide a background for the country reports in this special issue by giving a brief insight into the problem of piracy in the twenty-first century and the international approaches towards this problem. Here the article also provides an insight into the legal background by presenting the concept of piracy in the law of the sea and connected law enforcement powers. Thus, this part of the article provides the overall context in which the discussions concerning on-board protection and the development of national regulations have occurred. Second, the article analyses the issue of on-board protection from the perspective of the legal framework in international law, as well as relevant international soft-law instruments, influencing the development on the national level. On-board protection of vessels as such is not regulated in the international law; however, international law provides a form of general legal setting, in which flags states navigate. Thus, this article aims to draw a picture of the international context in which flags states develop their specific legal approach.


Birgit Feldtmann
Birgit Feldtmann is professor (mso) at the Department of Law, Aalborg University.
Article

Access_open Armed On-board Protection of Italian Ships: From an Apparent Hybrid Model to a Regulated Rise of Private Contractors

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2018
Keywords maritime security services, Italian hybrid system, military and private personnel, use of force, relation with the shipmaster
Authors Giorgia Bevilacqua
AbstractAuthor's information

    The sharp increase of piracy attacks in the last two decades was followed by a parallel increase of demand in the maritime security sector. A plenty of flag States around the world have started to authorize the deployment of armed security guards, either military or private, aboard commercial ships. In 2011, Italy also introduced the possibility of embarking armed security services to protect Italian flagged ships sailing in dangerous international waters. Like the other flag States’ legal systems, the newly adopted Italian legislation aims to preserve the domestic shipping industry which was particularly disrupted by modern-day pirates. On the other hand, the doubling of approaches of the Italian legal and regulatory framework, initially privileging military personnel and then opting for the private solution, took the author to investigate the main relevant features of the Italian model of regulation and to analyze the recent developments of the domestic legal practice on counterpiracy armed security services, focusing on the role that customary and treaty obligations of international law played for the realization at national level of on-board armed protection of Italian ships. The use of lethal force at sea and the relationship between the shipmaster and the security guards will receive specific attention in this article.


Giorgia Bevilacqua
Researcher at the Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli.
Article

Access_open Armed On-board Protection of Danish Vessels Authorisation and Use of Force in Self-defence in a Legal Perspective

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2018
Keywords piracy, private security companies (PSC), privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP), use of force, Denmark
Authors Christian Frier
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the legal issues pertaining to the use of civilian armed guards on board Danish-flagged ships for protection against piracy. The Danish model of regulation is interesting for several reasons. Firstly, the Danish Government was among the first European flag States to allow and formalise their use in a commercial setting. Secondly, the distribution of assignments between public authorities and private actors stands out as very pragmatic, as ship owners and contracting private security companies are empowered with competences which are traditionally considered as public administrative powers. Thirdly, the lex specialis framework governing the authorisation and use of force in self-defence is non-exhaustive, thus referring to lex generalis regulation, which does not take the special circumstances surrounding the use of armed guards into consideration. As a derived effect the private actors involved rely heavily on soft law and industry self-regulation instrument to complement the international and national legal framework.


Christian Frier
Christian Frier is research assistant at the Department of Law, University of Southern Denmark. He obtained his PhD in Law in March 2019.
Article

Access_open Global Citizens and Family Relations

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2014
Keywords global governance, family relations, nationality, habitual residence, party autonomy
Authors Professor Yuko Nishitani Ph.D.
AbstractAuthor's information

    As globalisation progresses, cross-border movements of people are becoming dynamic and multilateral. The existence of different groups and minorities within the community renders the society multiethnic and multicultural. As individuals acquire new affiliation and belonging, the conventional conflict of laws methods may no longer be viable and should be subject to a thorough re-examination. Against this background, this paper analyses appropriate conflicts rules in international family relations to reflect an individual’s identity. Furthermore, in light of the contemporary law fragmentation, this study also analyses interactions between state law and non-state cultural, religious or customary norms.


Professor Yuko Nishitani Ph.D.
Professor at Kyushu University Faculty of Law, Japan. This work was supported by the JSPS Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) (Grant Number 26380063). The author sincerely thanks Professor Carol Lawson (Nagoya University) and Ms. Nettie Dekker for their devoted editing work.
Article

Access_open Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Treaty-Based Settlement of Terrorism-Related Disputes in the Era of Active United Nations Security Council Involvement

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2013
Keywords Terrorism, inter-state dispute, international treaties, the United Nations Security Council, the International Court of Justice
Authors Nathanael Tilahun Ali LL.M.
AbstractAuthor's information

    The United Nations Security Council has become a crucial actor in international counterterrorism by not only spurring the taking of preventive and suppressive measures against terrorist individuals and groups, but also by taking actions against states that are said to stand in the way. The Security Council's actions against such states invariably arise from accusations by other states, such as accusations of refusal to extradite suspects of terrorism or responsibility for supporting terrorists. Meanwhile, most such issues of dispute are covered under international treaties relating to terrorism, which provide for political (negotiation) and judicial (arbitration and adjudication) mechanisms of dispute settlement. The Security Council's actions against states in connection with terrorism, therefore, involve (explicit or implicit) factual and legal determinations that affect the legal positions of the disputing states under the applicable international treaties relating to terrorism. The point of departure of this paper is that, in this respect, the Security Council effectively becomes an alternative to the treaty-based dispute-settlement mechanisms. The article centrally contends that the Security Council effectively acts as a more attractive alternative to treaty-based dispute-settlement mechanisms for pursuing terrorism-related (legal) disputes between states, without providing a meaningful platform of disputation that is based on equality of the parties. And the Security Council's relative attractiveness, arising from the discursive and legal superiority its decisions enjoy and the relative convenience and expediency with which those decisions are delivered, entails the rendering of resort to treaty-based dispute-settlement mechanisms of little legal consequence. The point of concern the article aims to highlight is the lack of platform of disputation some states are faced with, trapped between a hostile Security Council that makes determinations and decisions of legal consequence and an unhelpful treaty-based dispute-settlement mechanism.


Nathanael Tilahun Ali LL.M.
PhD Candidate in public international law, Erasmus School of Law. E: ali@law.eur.nl. I would like to thank Prof. Xandra Kramer and Prof. Ellen Hey for their valuable comments on an earlier draft of this article. The usual disclaimer applies.

Hans-Jürgen Wagener
Dr. Hans-Jrgen Wagener is Professor emeritus of Europa-Universitt Viadrina at Frankfurt (Oder) and Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. The author is obliged to several commentators and referees for valuable criticism.
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