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Extraterritoriality is the state of being exempted from the jurisdiction of local law, usually as the result of diplomatic negotiations. Extraterritoriality can also be applied to physical places, such as foreign embassies, military bases of foreign countries, or offices of the United Nations. The three most common cases recognized today internationally relate to the persons and belongings of foreign heads of state, the persons and belongings of ambassadors and other diplomats, and ships in foreign waters.
Extraterritoriality is often extended to friendly or allied militaries, particularly for the purposes of allowing that military to simply pass through one's territory.
It is distinguished from personal jurisdiction in the sense that extraterritoriality operates to the prejudice of local jurisdiction.
During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the Italian sea republics of Genoa and Venice managed to wrestle extraterritoriality for their quarters (Pera and Galata) in the Byzantine capital, Constantinople. They even battled among themselves for further control of the weakened empire.
Perhaps the most well-known cases of historical extraterritoriality concerned European nationals in 19th century China, Japan and Siam under the unequal treaties.
Extraterritoriality was imposed upon China in the Treaty of Nanking, resulting from the First Opium War. Shanghai in particular became a major center of foreign activity, as it contained two extraterritorial zones, the International Settlement and the French Concession. Chinese and non-treaty nationals in these settlements were subject to Chinese law but, until 1927, were tried by a hybrid Mixed Court which had a Chinese judge and foreign assessor sitting on it. Foreign Nationals of treaty powers were tried by consular courts. Great Britain established the British Supreme Court for China and Japan in Shanghai in 1865 and America the United States Court for China in the early 20th Century.
Extraterritorial rights were not limited to Western nations; Japan and China granted each other reciprocal extraterritorial rights when both opened to trade. Later, in 1895, under the Treaty of Shimonoseki China gave up its extraterritorial rights in Japan and Japan obtained further rights in China. Japan later claimed extraterritorial privileges elsewhere in Asia.
Extraterritoriality in China for non-diplomatic personnel ended at various times in the twentieth century. Germany and Austria-Hungary lost their rights in China in 1917 after China joined the allies in World War I; the Soviet Union gave up its rights in China in 1924; the United States and United Kingdom gave up their rights in 1943; Italy and Japan gave up their rights by virtue of being at war with China in World War II; and Portugal was the last country to give up its rights, in 1946.
Japan recognized extraterritoriality in the treaties concluded with the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, and Russia in 1858, in connection with the concept of the "most favoured nation". Most countries exercised extraterritorial jurisdiction through consular courts. Britain established the British Court for Japan in 1879.
Japan succeeded in reforming its unequal status with Britain through the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Commerce and Navigation signed on 16 July 1894 in London. Similar treaties were signed with other extraterritorial powers at the same time. These treaties all came into effect in 1899.
King Mongkut (Rama IV) of Siam signed the Bowring Treaty granting extraterritorial rights to Britain in 1855. Sir Robert Hermann Schomburgk, British Consul-General from 1859 to 1864, gives an account of his judicial training and responsibilities in a letter to his cousin dated 6 September 1860. Unequal treaties were later signed with 13 other European powers, as well as Japan. After absolute monarchy was replaced by constitutional monarchy in the bloodless Siamese revolution of 1932, the constitutional government promulgated a set of legal codes, setting the stage for new treaties signed between 1937 and 1938 which canceled extraterritorial rights.
American Indian Nations
In American Indian contact with Euro-Americans, extraterritoriality once denoted the same idea that beyond given points/lines—e. g., the Indian Southern Boundary in colonial times—Indian tribes were beyond white jurisdiction and non-Indians were not to trespass or occupy any lands. With the establishment of reservations, extraterritoriality soon lost this meaning or became a moot designation.
There are a few examples of extraterritorial agreements concerning the birth of royals:
In January 1943 the maternity ward of Ottawa Civic Hospital in which Princess Margriet of the Netherlands was born was temporarily declared to be extraterritorial by the Canadian government. Making the maternity ward outside of the Canadian domain caused it to be unaffiliated with any jurisdiction and technically international territory. This was done to ensure that the newborn Princess would derive her citizenship from her mother only, thus making her solely Dutch.
Similarly in 1945, the birth of Alexander, Crown Prince of Yugoslavia happened in Suite 212 of Claridge's Hotel in London, England, United Kingdom, which was temporarily ceded as Yugoslavian territory.
Irish Treaty Ports
It is sometimes thought that the Treaty Ports in Ireland were examples of extraterritoriality. They were sovereign bases created by the United Kingdom in 1922, did not enjoy extraterritoriality from the Irish Free State. They were instead pieces of sovereign territory retained by the United Kingdom, until they were finally ceded to the Free State's successor, the Republic of Ireland, in 1938.
- Examples where countries have ceded some control (for example, the right to enter at will for law enforcement purposes) without ceding sovereignty include the following:
- Official visits of heads of state
- Extraterritorial properties of the Holy See in Italy
- Headquarters of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta in Rome
- Fort St. Angelo in Malta.
- United Nations headquarters in New York, United Nations offices in Geneva, Vienna, Nairobi, The Hague (International Court of Justice), Hamburg (International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea), Copenhagen and elsewhere.
- The International Bureau of Weights and Measures at the Pavillon de Breteuil in Sèvres
- The NATO (political) headquarters in Brussels and the headquarters of Allied Command Operations, SHAPE near Mons, Belgium
- CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) - for convenience, some facilities that cross into France are under Swiss jurisdiction
- European Central Bank in Frankfurt http://www.ecb.int/pub/pdf/scplps/ecblwp4.pdf. Missing or empty
- European Patent Office in Munich, Berlin and The Hague
- Moldauhafen (Vltava port), a lot in the port of Hamburg, Germany, leased to the Czech Republic until 2028
- International Maritime Organisation Headquarters in London
- Special Concessions for cemeteries and memorials. National governments can also own property or special concessions in other host countries without gaining any sort of legal jurisdiction or sovereignty, in which case they are treated similarly to other private property owners. For example, ownership of land under the John F. Kennedy Memorial at Runnymede, England, was given to the United States by the United Kingdom in the John F. Kennedy Memorial Act 1964. Another example of these types of special concessions are the numerous cemeteries and monuments administered by the American Battle Monuments Commission. These are located in Belgium, Cuba, France, Gibraltar, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, Panama, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, Tunisia, and the United Kingdom. The most popular site among these is the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France.
- Various free ports exist outside the main customs territory of their host country.
- Contrary to popular belief, diplomatic missions do not enjoy full extraterritorial status and are not sovereign territory of the represented state.
- Akmal Shaikh
- Antarctic Treaty System
- British Supreme Court for China and Japan
- British Court for Japan
- Demilitarized zone
- Diplomatic Immunity
- Enclave and exclave
- EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg
- Extraterritorial jurisdiction
- Harris Treaty
- Imperialism in Asia
- International waters
- International zone
- Law of the Sea
- Moon Treaty
- Neutral territory
- Outer Space Treaty
- Rasul v. Bush
- Status of forces agreement
- United States Court for China
- Duus, Peter (1998). Modern Japan, Second Ed. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.
- Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "Extraterritoriality"
- Guehler, Ulrich (1949). "A Letter Written by Sir Robert H. Schomburgk H.B.M.'s Consul in Bangkok in 1860" (PDF). Journal of the Siam Society (Siam Society). JSS Vol. 37.2f (digital): images 3–4. Retrieved November 30, 2013. "Translation of a letter written in German by Sir Robert H. Schomburgk ... sheds a light on living conditions in Siam at the time, especially so on the life at the British Consulate."
- Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "Complete Independence"
- DeVorsey, Louis,1966,The Indian Boundaries in the Southern Colonies, 1763–1775 (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press); Sutton, Imre, 1976, "Sovereign States and the Changing Definition of the Indian Reservation," Geographical Review,66(3):281-95.
- CBC Digital Archives: "Netherlands' Princess Margriet born in Ottawa"
- Alexander, Crown Prince of Yugoslavia#Birth and childhood
- "BIPM website". Retrieved 5 mai 2013.
- "Statutory Instrument 2002:1826 – The International Maritime Organisation (Immunities and Privileges) Order 2002". The Stationery Office Limited. 16 July 2002. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
- Evans, D. M. Emrys (1965). "John F. Kennedy Memorial Act, 1964". The Modern Law Review 28 (6): 703–706.
- "American Battle Monuments Commission". Retrieved 13 March 2013.