Under the U.S. Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 10) and longstanding international consensus, the U.S. has the power to prosecute the captured Somali pirate who held U.S. Captain Richard Phillips hostage for five days. For now, the young man is being held by the U.S. military and will likely be turned over to the FBI for transport to the United States. Unnamed sources say it is most likely that he will sent to New York to face a federal magistrate. Officially, however, the government is not commenting.
The FBI is collecting evidence and interviewing parties. One large issue here is going to be the young Somali man’s age. Because of upheaval in Somalia (records are often burned), there may never be an official determination as to whether he is a juvenile or an adult. Either way, he could be charged under an international trial and faces a potential sentence of life in prison.
As a side note, click here to see how Julius Caesar defeated pirates.