Crime and punishment in Antarctica

How do you judge someone guilty of a crime in Antarctica, a country technically no one owns? As the New York Times explains:

An unsolved death. Assault with a deadly weapon. Lots of alcohol-fueled misbehavior. It’s quite a rap sheet for a continent where almost nobody lives.

Antarctica is a vast place, nearly twice the size of Australia, but it has no permanent population, other than a few thousand scientists and support staff members from dozens of countries who are sent temporarily to conduct research.

Still, anywhere there are humans, there are bound to be violent acts and petty offenses, and that raises the question: How are criminal cases handled where sovereignty is a muddle and there are no permanent courts, prisons or police forces?

Under the terms of the 53-nation Antarctic Treaty, workers accused of serious crimes at a research base are subject to the jurisdiction of their home country.

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Originally published on Valiant Ghost

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