Thursday, June 3, 2010

A More Detailed Look At The Law Of The Sea And The Gaza Flotilla Incident

As discussions and comments about the Gaza Flotilla Incident continue, the legal issues involved have been bandied around in ways that, at times, leave much to be desired. Advocates on both sides have tried to invoke elements of international law to bolster their opinions, to the consternation of some well-informed, objective observers.

In response to things, I recommend reading a piece in today's issue of The Globe & Mail written by Ed Morgan, a professor of international law at the University of Toronto (viewable by clicking here). In it, Prof. Morgan outlines the various laws and regulations about the Law of the Sea and rules of engagement pertaining to naval warfare.

"Reactions to the Israeli seizure of the Gaza-bound flotilla have shared two traits," Morgan writes, "They have virtually all invoked international law, and they have virtually all been marked more by their rhetorical excess than their knowledge of international law."

Morgan goes on to write, "Accordingly, the accusation of piracy is inapt, since under both customary law and Article 101 of the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea that applies only to acts done for private gain. Israel's acts must be analyzed in terms of the law of naval warfare."

He then goes on the detail what constitutes a blockade and the laws regulating force at sea.

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