From Cutlass to Cat-O’-Nine Tails: The Case for International Jurisdiction of Mutiny on the High Seas

This article will first discuss the historical background of mutiny, describing several of the major mutinies at sea that have been of interest to legal historians. Then will come an analysis of the history of piracy and an exploration of its symbiotic relationship with mutiny. Subsequent analysis will be given over to municipal law provisions outlawing mutiny – with concentration placed on the postures taken by those nation-states which subscribe to or are guided by the common law. A study of those relevant principles of international law regarded as controlling, as a consequence of historical vectors of force and municipal law, is then presented. Finally, the article examines the laws of extradition. The conclusion to be drawn from the analysis is that although there is no international law encompassing mutiny qua mutiny, the existing international legal structure affords ample room for a construction that permits a broad assertion of jurisdiction in order to bring mutineers to justice.