Friday, September 7, 2012

On September 7

On this day in ...
... 1927 (85 years ago today), sitting at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the Permanent Court of International Justice, composed of 11 regular judges and 1 ad litem judge, issued the decision in The Case of the S.S. Lotus (France v. Turkey). As indicated in prior posts available here, the reasoning by which a court majority ruled for Turkey in this dispute, arising out of the collision of the French at right and a Turkish vessel, would become known as the Lotus principle. Here's the key passage:
'International law governs relations between independent States. The rules of law binding upon States therefore emanate from their own free will as expressed in conventions or by usages generally accepted as expressing principles of law and established in order to regulate the relations between these co-existing independent communities or with a view to the achievement of common aims. Restrictions upon the independence of States cannot therefore be presumed.'
Or, as rephrased by the PCIJ dissenter, traditionally, for states,
'[U]nder international law everything which is not prohibited is permitted.'

(Prior September 7 posts are here, here, here, here, and here.)

No comments: