IBRU State of Sovereignty: Day 1, Sessions

Regimes for Managing Maritime Space, 1 April, Track 2 Session 1

Maritime Policing: A Sea of Change? From the Exercise of Sovereignty over Maritime Space towards the Enforcement of the Global Oceans Legal Framework, Ms Patricia Jimenez Kwast, University of Oxford, UK

Enforcement/Policing of the Law of the Sea, not by ship owners, ports, etc. Broad topic, global philosophical aspects.

Policing Powers at Sea – Background & Legal Framework

Has a picture of a pirate flag! Sweet!

Law enforcement at sea is a core aspect of sovereignty, comes with rights and duties.

New Developments – Security, Resources, Marine Environment

Global challenges in maritime policing.

Maritime security (piracy, terrorism, and smuggling)

Sustainable Fisheries: Overexploitation and IUU fishing.

Marine Environment – Pollution, degradation and destruction.

Problems exist within jurisdictions, not just outside them – states have policing powers within 200nm, but not the physical ability to enforce them in such a huge area.

Cooperation gaps and flag State control, legal controversies and limits of cooperation. Regime for maritime policing is fragmented, not all states can manage to do policing.

Lots of international cooperation because of the huge challenges of global maritime policing. No longer just unilateral exercise of control at sea, instead international cooperation. Should we be going towards the international unification of maritime policing?

A Paradigm Shift in Maritime Policing? New developments or just a continuation on the same. Calls for international law enforcement unification. Proposed since 1910

Sovereign powers of control at sea have expanded vastly yet changed along the way. The “Constant and Almost Irresistible Trend” towards increased control at sea. Yet in certain important areas, this increasing control is enforcement of an international legal regime, rather than individual nations laws. (The speaker viewed this as a good thing, I think, but for us, I don’t think it is. International law will be slower to change than national law, but the less jurisdictions there are, the harder it will be for us to find one that suits us well.) Some say we should move more in that way, others less.

Future – depends how this international cooperation plays out. Will not happen very quickly, even if we do get centralized interdiction authority. Global Ocean Guard / UN Navy – she thinks would be bad.

The ‘Territorialisation’ of the Exclusive Economic Zone: Implications for Maritime Jurisdiction, Dr Sophia Kopela, University of Bristol, UK

Here in europe, it is called the “Eee Eee Zed”. How cute!

EEZ is resource-based, for exploring/exploiting/managing/conserving resources, as well as artificial islands and scientific research. Other states enjoy fundamental freedoms of navigation, overflight, and laying undersea cables and pipelines. 125 states claim an EEZ, 11 claim a Fisheries Zone, 3 states (Italy, France, Slovenia) claim an Ecological Protection Zone. A few states that claim 200nm Territorial Seas. Nearly 1/3 of the oceans are under the EEZ. On the one hand, that means 2/3 is not. But on the gripping hand, that means that a single recent grab for territory took over 1/3 of the remaining free area from the high seas!

States have respected the functional nature of the zone and not tried to claim sovereignty, but they do keep grasping for more competences and jurisdictions, as well as to restrict the freedoms and rights recognized in favor of other states. That is how creeping jurisdiction has manifested since the EE Zed was established.

Lots of tension about military activities in the EEZ. Some consider loading, unloading, testing, etc. to be rights of everyone. Other states prohibit any foreign military, or require prior permission. Many states require hydrographic surveys and collection of marine data to get permission first, as they consider it to have national security implications relating to mine countermeasures and submarine warfare, despite UNCLOS explicitly calling out scientific research as a permitted right of all states within the EEZ.

Recent incident on March 8th between the USA and China regarding an American intelligence-gathering ship in the South China Sea.

Relevant to us: Some states have claimed jurisdiction over any installations structures and devices for any purpose, not just those mentioned in UNCLOS, because of concern about artificial installations for military purposes.

Some states are claiming the right to regulate navigation within the EEZ for specific vessel types that pose environmental risks, such as very large vessels or those carrying waste.

Session 2

“To acknowledge sovereignty is to accept human rights violations”

Two options to deal with this:

Proposal 1: Transcend sovereignty, move to One World Order.

Proposal 2: Changing the notion. Conditional sov, to be a sov state you must go beyond the Montevideo convention and respect human rights – you don’t get the rights of a sov state if you have genocide. Recognizes inequality in how good states are at human rights.

‘Not in my name’. Sovereignty, Legitimate Authority and Liberal Just War Theory, Dr John Williams, Durham University, UK

“Not In My Name” seen on lots of placards in the largest demonstration London has ever seen, UK antiwar. It has become a common theme since then, and it is interesting because it embodies certain claims. (Which are very relevant for seasteading – autonomy!) Dissociation of oneself from association with a government which does things that you don’t like. Asks questions about the legitimacy of sovereign authority.

I like this talk enough that I will copy and paste the abstract:

This paper aims to critically assess the common notion within contemporary just war theory of sovereignty as the basis for legitimate authority to wage war. Starting by considering arguments arising from individuals in liberal democratic states seeking to disassociate themselves from the actions of governments supportive of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the paper looks at how the concept of sovereignty in just war theory is under pressure. As contemporary just war theory takes on a increasingly liberal character, producing an account that places greater emphasis on classic liberal concerns such as individuals, rights, limited authority and accountability, a monolithic concept of sovereignty becomes less tenable.

In particular, the paper questions the almost complete conflation of legitimate authority with sovereignty to look at how claims about the nature and location of political authority establish important challenges to the ability of just war’s orthodox position to frame responses to normative challenges arising from the ‘global war on terror’ and the trans-national terrorism networks it is supposed to combat. At the same time as some individuals in liberal democracies seek to distance themselves from their governments, trans-national networks such as al Qaeda deploy non-state based identities and memberships as the basis of obligations to conduct war against states. They also argue that citizenship of and participation in democratic polities, even in opposition to governments, renders individuals liable to lethal attack, in opposition to just war’s efforts to define ordinary citizens as non-combatants immune from attack. Just war theory, the paper seeks to argue, therefore needs to revisit its concept of legitimate authority and its connection to sovereignty in order to respond to challenges such as these.

In a Q&A, this author made a hilarious comment about Westphalian sovereignty, calling it a historical myth. The idea that a treaty made 350 years ago by people trying to end a terrible war should permanently define the nature of sovereignty in the world is “highly fanciful”.


4 thoughts on “IBRU State of Sovereignty: Day 1, Sessions”

  1. [quote]

     The idea that a treaty made 350 years ago by people trying to end a terrible war should permanently define the nature of sovereignty in the world is “highly fanciful”


    I most certainly agree with that notion. While others peoples conception of sovereignty is certainly a practical concern of mine, i consider myself free to come up with my own ideas on the subject.

    Is hilarious meant to convey agreement, or is there something disagreeable about it that i have missed?

  2.  Ah, i hadnt even considered that the quote was placed in the context of someone striving for world government. Quite likly indeed, given whats fashionable.

    Still, i would agree with this statement in isolation, we would just differ in opinion in what direction to go after having rejected the concept of westphallian sovereignity.

  3. Gordon Brown was on TV yesterday from the G20 meeting talking about how they´re going to eliminate tax havens, regulate (as if it wasn´t already) the financial markets and generally make life miserable for everyone. He literally uses the phrase “New World Order”. World government here we come. Scary stuff.

  4. Westphalian sovereignty is how nations and their relationships are currently organized in the real world.  Individual, autonomous nation states have their problems, but they’re almost certainly better than the one-world-government that all the Internationalists seem to dream of.  Would you rather have a choice of many nations or one gigantic, greedy, highly-corrupt, monolithic, socialist world government?  One world government would seem to be the polar opposite of seasteading: monopoly versus competiting governments.

    One-worlders favor centralizing power into a single government (which naturally they want to be the masters/rulers of).  Individualists should seek to move in the opposite direction and decentralize autonomy, ultimately to each individual.  The latter is freedom.  The former is slavery.

    The conference seems to be about “who should police the oceans”.  My individualistic answer is: each person.  

    If individuals on merchant ships were allowed to be properly armed, then Somali-syle piracy (or Malaccan, etc.) would be nearly impossible.  Criminals and terrorists will always have access to arms.  The disparity of force that facilitates crime and piracy only happens when the good guys are deprived of arms.  Gun bans in the U.K. and Australia have done a phenomenal job of making crime safe for criminals.  Same thing is true of defenseless merchant ships making piracy safe for pirates.



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