Benin Piracy Law

Benin has a dualist legal system, which means that local, customary law exists alongside civil law. The civil law derives from French colonial law still in effect and current national legislation. Article 147 of the Constitution of Benin provides that "Treaties or agreements lawfully ratified shall have, upon their publication, an authority superior to that of laws, without prejudice for each agreement or treaty in its application by the other party." This provision, in theory, gives full force to any treaty to which Benin is a party, even if not implemented into domestic legislation. In practice, however, it is unclear whether Benin's accession to UNLCOS gives its courts jurisdiction to prosecute acts of piracy on the high seas. Benin's Maritime Code, at Articles 643-644, contain provisions related to the criminalization of piracy. Benin does not have a modern Penal Code, but rather uses the 1810 Napoleonic Criminal Code adopted from France during the colonialization era.

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