Despite Cicero's celebrated definition of pirates as hostes humani generis,1 there is no trace of the expression in (positive) international law. The ‘criminals against humanity’—which included enslavers and sexual slavers,2 but not (yet) pirates or terrorists—come the closest today to those ‘enemies of all humanity’. There being no mention on international treaties, what is it that scholars have meant when they referred to hostes humani generis in treatises on international law? The meaning was generally twofold: pirates were worthy of punishment; and, to put it...
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