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dangle
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Belarusian Government Officials Charged With Aircraft Piracy

Thu Jan 20, 2022 11:45 pm

US government has filed charges against four Belarusan government officials accused of consipiring to divert Ryanair flight 4978 for the purpose of arresting Raman Pratasevich.

I guess since US citizens were onboard, the US has standing to seek the officials' arrest.

Per the DOJ: "Senior Belarusian Officials Conspired to Use a False Bomb Threat to Unlawfully Divert a Passenger Flight Carrying American Citizens in Order to Arrest Belarusian Dissident"

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/be ... light-4978
 
davidjohnson6
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Re: Belarusian Government Officials Charged With Aircraft Piracy

Thu Jan 20, 2022 11:54 pm

There is zero chance of the Belarusian officials spending time in jail any time soon. I very much doubt Belarus or Russia will recognise any kind of US jurisdiction in this case - would probably have to be Polish, Irish, EU, Greek, Lithuanian or Belarusian courts to have any hope of recognition of jurisdiction (note, I am talking about jurisdiction, not conviction). Even the trial over the Pan Am Lockerbie bombing which had a far stronger claim of US jurisdiction didn't take place in a US court...

What does the US Govt really want to achieve on this ? Lukashenko won't give anyone up until he loses power and there is a revolution. Belarus is protected far too well by Russia - we're not talking Libya which wanted help from Europe.
Last edited by davidjohnson6 on Fri Jan 21, 2022 12:03 am, edited 2 times in total.
 
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zeke
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Re: Belarusian Government Officials Charged With Aircraft Piracy

Fri Jan 21, 2022 12:01 am

davidjohnson6 wrote:
What does the US Govt really want to achieve on this ?


It would be a lawful way in my view to have assets associated with the government and those individuals frozen. They effectively have done this before making life hard for people, with all visa/mastercard payments stopped.
 
prebennorholm
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Re: Belarusian Government Officials Charged With Aircraft Piracy

Fri Jan 21, 2022 1:06 am

davidjohnson6 wrote:
What does the US Govt really want to achieve on this ?

They want to tell the air pirates - and any potential future air pirates - that they forever will have to live in their own "prison", since if they happen to visit a country in the developed part of the world, then they will be crucified.
 
Oilman
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Re: Belarusian Government Officials Charged With Aircraft Piracy

Fri Jan 21, 2022 1:16 am

Does anyone know why the US government has jurisdiction over this?
 
FlyingElvii
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Re: Belarusian Government Officials Charged With Aircraft Piracy

Fri Jan 21, 2022 1:17 am

So WHY is the US charging anyone for an incident involving Belarusian citizens, flying over Belarus, in a aircraft registered in Malta? The two arrested were wanted for involvement in the Belarus Coup attempt.

This is very dangerous precedent to set. The US has diverted more than one aircraft over the years to arrest people.
https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna7885441

Can those involved now be charged with a crime by any nation?
 
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Polot
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Re: Belarusian Government Officials Charged With Aircraft Piracy

Fri Jan 21, 2022 1:32 am

FlyingElvii wrote:
So WHY is the US charging anyone for an incident involving Belarusian citizens, flying over Belarus, in a aircraft registered in Malta? The two arrested were wanted for involvement in the Belarus Coup attempt.

This is very dangerous precedent to set. The US has diverted more than one aircraft over the years to arrest people.
https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna7885441

Can those involved now be charged with a crime by any nation?

That’s not an apples to apples situation. Your link is an aircraft that was flying to a US airport (BOS) that the US made divert to another US airport, the first one major one they would encounter in US airspace, to remove a passenger. The passenger on board was intending to enter the US (or else they would not be flying to Boston). The Belarus diversion was a plane from Greece going to Lithuania.
 
hpff
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Re: Belarusian Government Officials Charged With Aircraft Piracy

Fri Jan 21, 2022 1:44 am

FlyingElvii wrote:
So WHY is the US charging anyone for an incident involving Belarusian citizens, flying over Belarus, in a aircraft registered in Malta? The two arrested were wanted for involvement in the Belarus Coup attempt.

This is very dangerous precedent to set. The US has diverted more than one aircraft over the years to arrest people.
https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna7885441

Can those involved now be charged with a crime by any nation?


Since U.S. citizens were on board, they are applying U.S. law. Typically the U.S. will extend its law to gain jurisdiction, and in this case some sort of card in a foreign policy game.
 
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Polot
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Re: Belarusian Government Officials Charged With Aircraft Piracy

Fri Jan 21, 2022 1:49 am

hpff wrote:
FlyingElvii wrote:
So WHY is the US charging anyone for an incident involving Belarusian citizens, flying over Belarus, in a aircraft registered in Malta? The two arrested were wanted for involvement in the Belarus Coup attempt.

This is very dangerous precedent to set. The US has diverted more than one aircraft over the years to arrest people.
https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna7885441

Can those involved now be charged with a crime by any nation?


Since U.S. citizens were on board, they are applying U.S. law. Typically the U.S. will extend its law to gain jurisdiction, and in this case some sort of card in a foreign policy game.

And to be honest EU officials probably privately pushed the US to do this. They have hardly been making Belarus’s life easy after the diversion. As Zeke mentioned the endgame is probably to get assets frozen and access to US financial institutions restricted.
 
Cardude2
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Re: Belarusian Government Officials Charged With Aircraft Piracy

Fri Jan 21, 2022 1:52 am

and also don't forget this definitely has something to do with Russia invading Ukraine issue and possible war with the US
 
davidjohnson6
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Re: Belarusian Government Officials Charged With Aircraft Piracy

Fri Jan 21, 2022 1:57 am

FlyingElvii wrote:
So WHY is the US charging anyone for an incident involving Belarusian citizens, flying over Belarus, in a aircraft registered in Malta? The two arrested were wanted for involvement in the Belarus Coup attempt.

This is very dangerous precedent to set. The US has diverted more than one aircraft over the years to arrest people.
https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna7885441

Can those involved now be charged with a crime by any nation?


On a purely technical point, I believe the aircraft was flown by Buzz, a Polish registered airline, and the aircraft was on the Polish register... so it should be a Polish court, not a Maltese court, which would have jurisdiction. Poland is not known as a soft touch for justice... let the case go before a Polish judge. Otherwise, maybe a Greek or Lithuanian court if for some reason (and this would be very surprising) Poland has no law against air piracy. Extradition treaties will make it difficult for the people involved to travel outside Belarus or Russia in the event of being found guilty

That said, I am very concerned about the USA claiming jurisdiction in a matter like this and believe it sets a bad precedent. Yes, the Belarusian officials should face trial... but do it in Poland, and let the rest of the world see due process against which arguing is difficult... instead of a bully muscling in and claiming authority with a kangaroo court which others can refute

If citizenship of passengers is the main arbiter of jurisdiction... then Belarus can claim the right to hear the case, since at least one passenger, namely Protasevich, has Belarusian nationality
 
hpff
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Re: Belarusian Government Officials Charged With Aircraft Piracy

Fri Jan 21, 2022 2:51 pm

davidjohnson6 wrote:
That said, I am very concerned about the USA claiming jurisdiction in a matter like this and believe it sets a bad precedent. Yes, the Belarusian officials should face trial... but do it in Poland, and let the rest of the world see due process against which arguing is difficult... instead of a bully muscling in and claiming authority with a kangaroo court which others can refute

If citizenship of passengers is the main arbiter of jurisdiction... then Belarus can claim the right to hear the case, since at least one passenger, namely Protasevich, has Belarusian nationality


To be clear, multiple countries could potentially claim jurisdiction over this case under their own law. It's not like the U.S. staked the claim first, or that they couldn't prosecute if Belarus decides to.
 
tommy1808
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Re: Belarusian Government Officials Charged With Aircraft Piracy

Fri Jan 21, 2022 2:56 pm

Oilman wrote:
Does anyone know why the US government has jurisdiction over this?


Because most, if not all, countries prosecute crimes against their citizens regardless of where the crime was committed unless the local legal system does so sufficiently.

davidjohnson6 wrote:
There is zero chance of the Belarusian officials spending time in jail any time soon.


They also won't be traveling much outside of Belarus or Russia, few countries will ignore a red notice. Money hidden away in foreign bank accounts may also make *puff*.

Best regards
Thomas
 
FlapOperator
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Re: Belarusian Government Officials Charged With Aircraft Piracy

Fri Jan 21, 2022 7:47 pm

hpff wrote:
FlyingElvii wrote:
So WHY is the US charging anyone for an incident involving Belarusian citizens, flying over Belarus, in a aircraft registered in Malta? The two arrested were wanted for involvement in the Belarus Coup attempt.

This is very dangerous precedent to set. The US has diverted more than one aircraft over the years to arrest people.
https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna7885441

Can those involved now be charged with a crime by any nation?


Since U.S. citizens were on board, they are applying U.S. law. Typically the U.S. will extend its law to gain jurisdiction, and in this case some sort of card in a foreign policy game.


Extraterritoriality isn't an exclusively US thing...many European governments have claimed pretty reaching extraterritoriality claims in pursuit of people who've tortured their citizens, for example. The Spanish courts, for example, are nearly universally mocked for their sweeping claims of sovereignty.

In the specific case of air piracy, the nature of air piracy calls upon maritime piracy as its closest analog. In that case, pirates were considered Hostis humani generis or enemies of mankind, and thus subject to the sanction of any sovereign with capability and capacity to prosecute pirates.

In this specific case, the Belorussian government needs to prove that its actions were state sanctioned or were the unsanctioned action of air piracy.
 
FlapOperator
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Re: Belarusian Government Officials Charged With Aircraft Piracy

Fri Jan 21, 2022 7:49 pm

davidjohnson6 wrote:

If citizenship of passengers is the main arbiter of jurisdiction... then Belarus can claim the right to hear the case, since at least one passenger, namely Protasevich, has Belarusian nationality


Oh, that would be an interesting claim to arbitrate.

I think the defense needs to call the HAMAS external operations chief to the stand.
 
MavyWavyATR
Posts: 350
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Re: Belarusian Government Officials Charged With Aircraft Piracy

Fri Jan 21, 2022 7:55 pm

Wouldn't it be more appropriate for Poland & Ireland to pursue these kinds of charges instead of the US since the aircraft involved has a Polish registration and it was a Polish/Irish airline operator?
 
Galwayman
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Re: Belarusian Government Officials Charged With Aircraft Piracy

Fri Jan 21, 2022 8:06 pm

The idea that the USA has any sort of jurisdication is utter nonesense. The media in Minsk and Moscow will by milking this stupidity for propoganda purposes - they'd be mad not to.
 
zuckie13
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Re: Belarusian Government Officials Charged With Aircraft Piracy

Fri Jan 21, 2022 8:37 pm

This is mainly a way to put out the facts the US has regarding what happened. It's the US government, in documents that are submitted under penalty of perjury documenting the individuals involved and what they did. Carries more weight that "anonymous US official says". They know full well these guys are unlikely to ever see a jail cell. They know full well they won't even bother contesting something like jurisdiction so it's just not important.
 
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DocLightning
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Re: Belarusian Government Officials Charged With Aircraft Piracy

Fri Jan 21, 2022 9:33 pm

davidjohnson6 wrote:
There is zero chance of the Belarusian officials spending time in jail any time soon.


Perhaps not, but they now have to live the rest of their lives restricted from going to countries that might honor extradition treaties with the US. Moreover, if they use any Western financial services, the US could take action against their money. This is no small inconvenience
 
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flyingclrs727
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Re: Belarusian Government Officials Charged With Aircraft Piracy

Fri Jan 21, 2022 9:56 pm

hpff wrote:
FlyingElvii wrote:
So WHY is the US charging anyone for an incident involving Belarusian citizens, flying over Belarus, in a aircraft registered in Malta? The two arrested were wanted for involvement in the Belarus Coup attempt.

This is very dangerous precedent to set. The US has diverted more than one aircraft over the years to arrest people.
https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna7885441

Can those involved now be charged with a crime by any nation?


Since U.S. citizens were on board, they are applying U.S. law. Typically the U.S. will extend its law to gain jurisdiction, and in this case some sort of card in a foreign policy game.


It's not unprecedented. After all one of the events that started the US on the path towards entering WWI on the side of the Allies was the sinking of the British flagged ocean liner RMS Lusitania with American passengers onboard.
 
FlapOperator
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Re: Belarusian Government Officials Charged With Aircraft Piracy

Fri Jan 21, 2022 10:03 pm

Galwayman wrote:
The idea that the USA has any sort of jurisdication is utter nonesense. The media in Minsk and Moscow will by milking this stupidity for propoganda purposes - they'd be mad not to.


Based upon what, exactly? Galwayman's assessment of what customary international law is? Because, for example, most countries in Europe accept extraterritorial jurisdictions for certain crimes. For example, Irish law since 1929 claims that Irish nationals overseas are liable under Irish law for specific crimes, including those that aren't a crime in the physical place of the committing of the act.

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