Experts to Gather at Case Western Reserve University for “End Game! An International Conference on Combating Maritime Piracy”


News Release: Monday, August 12, 2013


CLEVELAND—Two-dozen of the world’s foremost counter-piracy experts will gather at an international conference on Sept. 6 at Case Western Reserve University School of Law to analyze novel, front-line legal options and challenges in the fight against maritime piracy.

Maritime piracy, a rising global safety concern, has captured news headlines especially this summer:

 On Aug. 2, a federal jury in Virginia sentenced three Somali pirates to life sentences for killing four Americans aboard their yacht off the coast of Africa in 2011.

 On June 23, African leaders called for an international naval force for the Gulf of Guinea to combat the alarming proliferation of pirate attacks on the west coast of Africa.

 “A Hijacking,” a film about a Somali pirate attack on a Danish ship, opened in American theaters to critical acclaim.

 The World Bank reported that the annual cost of piracy to the world economy, including loss of tourism and increased insurance premiums, is $18 billion.

 Renewed political turmoil in Somalia and Yemen has been sowing the seeds for a new generation of pirates with increasingly deadly tactics

A highlight of the conference will be the keynote speech (1-1:45 p.m.) of Roméo Dallaire, a Canadian retired lieutenant-general and the best-selling author who was played by Nick Nolte in the 2005 award-winning film “Hotel Rwanda.” Dallaire, who now heads the The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative at Dalhousie University, will be presented with the 2013 Frederick K. Cox International Law Center Humanitarian Award for Advancing Global Justice.

Because European countries have implemented a “catch and release” policy with respect to juvenile pirates, recruitment and use of child pirates has become an emerging problem. Dallaire will use his speech to map out a new strategy to respond to child piracy.

Conference panelists also include Chief Judge of the Kenya Piracy Court Rosemelle Mutoka; Chief Judge of the Seychelles Piracy Court Duncan Gaswaga, and Chief of Piracy Prosecutions of Mauritius Sulakshna Beekarry. Panels examine current trends and efforts to combat piracy, the problem of child pirates, the challenge of combating pirate financing and operational issues in combating and apprehending pirates.

“The current anti-pirate armada off the coast of Africa is not financially sustainable,” says conference organizer Michael Scharf, associate dean for Global Legal Studies at Case Western Reserve’s School of Law, “but when the foreign navies draw down their fleet, piracy will return. It’s time to develop a comprehensive end game. That’s the goal of this conference.”

Scharf has assisted with piracy prosecutions around the world and was quoted in Associated Press and Washington Post articles on Aug. 2, 2013 about the life sentences issued to Somali pirates by the Virginia jury. He can be reached on his cell phone at: 216-534-7796.

The conference is free and open to the public and media. Speakers are available for media interviews. For more information, including the conference schedule, list of speakers and to view a live webcast of the conference, go to: http://law.case.edu/lectures.

Assignment editors note:

Event: End Game! An International Conference on Combating Maritime Piracy

Time and Date: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. The keynote at 1 p.m. features Roméo Dallaire

Location: Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Moot Courtroom (A 59), in Cleveland


Posted by: Marvin Kropko, August 12, 2013 03:40 PM | News Topics: Official Release