Widening The Huntress’s Reach: Legal And Strategic Aspects Of A New Atalanta Mandate


The Council of the European Union decided to extend the ATALANTA mandate geographically to include Somali coastal territory and internal waters on the 23rd of March 2012 in its Council Decision 2012/174/CFSP. This decision, which still needs the sanction of national parliaments to allow all ATALANTA forces to act accordingly, has been the subject of criticism ever since. This briefing paper examines some of the questions raised in this context. It adresses the challenges against the legality of the new mandate and arrives at the conclusion that it is, in fact, legal under international law with respect to Somali sovereignty and the applicable human rights law. The brief also comments on the strategic drawbacks of the widened mandate. Despite all of these shortcomings, it is the authors conviction, that the new mandate, if implemented carefully, will add to the toolbox of the ATALANTA forces a tool, which will prove to be useful in the struggle against Somali piracy.

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