Prosecuting Pirates: The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, Governance and International Law

Since 2008 the response to Somali piracy has been highly decentralised. Criticisms have been made of the seemingly low rate of piracy prosecutions and centralised solutions, such as an international piracy court, proposed. This article explores the role of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia’s Working Group 2 (WG2) as a mechanism involved in coordinating piracy prosecutions. It reviews the applicable international law and available options. It suggests that WG2 has had a discernible influence in promoting the decentralised use of national courts over the creation of a stand-alone international piracy court. It then reflects on WG2 as an example of a ‘new governance’ coordination mechanism.