Lotus case

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This article is about the French steamer. For the schooner, see S.S.S. Lotus.
The Lotus Case
Court Permanent Court of International Justice
Full case name The Case of the S.S. "Lotus" (France v. Turkey)
Court membership
Judges sitting Huber, Loder, Weiss, Finlay, Nyholm, Moore, de Bustamante, Altamira, Oda, Anzilotti, Pessoa,Feizi-Dame Bey

The Lotus case concerns a criminal trial which was the result of the 2 August 1926 collision between the S.S. Lotus, a French steamship (or steamer), and the S.S. Boz-Kourt, a Turkish steamer, in a region just north of Mytilene (Greece). As a result of the accident, eight Turkish nationals aboard the Boz-Kourt drowned when the vessel was torn apart by the Lotus.

Background[edit]

On 7 September 1927 the case was presented before the Permanent Court of International Justice, the judicial branch of the League of Nations, the predecessor of the United Nations.

The issue at stake was Turkey's jurisdiction to try Monsieur Demons, the French officer on watch duty at the time of the collision. Since the collision occurred on the high seas, France claimed that the state whose flag the vessel flew had exclusive jurisdiction over the matter. France proffered case law, through which it attempted to show at least state practice in support of its position. However, those cases both involved ships that flew the flag of the flag state and were thus easily distinguishable. The Court, therefore, rejected France's position stating that there was no rule to that effect in international law.

Lotus principle[edit]

The Lotus principle or Lotus approach, usually considered a foundation of international law, says that sovereign states may act in any way they wish so long as they do not contravene an explicit prohibition. The application of this principle – an outgrowth of the Lotus case – to future incidents raising the issue of jurisdiction over people on the high seas was changed by article 11[1] of the 1958 High Seas Convention. The convention, held in Geneva, laid emphasis on the fact that only the flag state or the state of which the alleged offender was a national had jurisdiction over sailors regarding incidents occurring in high seas.

The principle has also been used in arguments against the reasons of the United States of America, for opposing the existence of the International Criminal Court (ICC).[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Convention of the High Seas (1958)
  2. ^ US Opposition to the International Criminal Court

Resources[edit]