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Chapter 1 -- The Lotus
The Case of The S.S. Lotus (France v. Turkey) Permanent Court of International Justice, 1927 1927 P.C.I.J. (ser.A) No. 9 The Court, delivers the following Judgment: * * * By a special agreement signed at Geneva on October 12th, 1926, between the Governments of the French and Turkish Republics and filed with the Registry of the Court, in accordance with Article 40 of theStatute and Article 35 of the Rules of Court, on January 4th, 1927, by the diplomatic representatives at The Hague of the aforesaid Governments, the latter have submitted to the Permanent Court of International Justice the question of jurisdiction which has arisen between them following upon the collision which occurred on August 2nd, 1926, between the steamships Boz-Kourt and Lotus. According tothe special agreement, the Court has to decide the following questions: "(1) Has Turkey, contrary to Article 15 of the Convention of Lausanne of July 24th, 1923, respecting conditions of residence and business and jurisdiction, acted in conflict with the principles of international law -- and if so, what principles -- by instituting, following the collision which occurred on August 2nd, 1926, on thehigh seas between the French steamer Lotus and the Turkish steamer BozKourt and upon the arrival of the French steamer at Constantinople -- as well as against the captain of the Turkish steamship -- joint criminal proceedings in pursuance of Turkish law against M. Demons, officer of the watch on board the Lotus at the time of the collision, in consequence of the loss of the Boz-Kourt havinginvolved the death of eight Turkish sailors and passengers? "(2) Should the reply be in the affirmative, what pecuniary reparation is due to M. Demons, provided, according to the principles of international law, reparation should be made in similar cases?" * * * On August 2nd, 1926, just before midnight, a collision occurred between the French mail steamer Lotus, proceeding to Constantinople, and theTurkish collier Boz-Kourt, between five and six nautical miles to the north of Cape Sigri (Mitylene). The Boz-Kourt, which was cut in two, sank, and eight Turkish nationals who were on board perished. After having done everything possible to succour the shipwrecked persons, of whom ten were able to be saved, the Lotus continued on its course to Constantinople, where it arrived on August 3rd. At thetime of the collision, the officer of the watch on board the Lotus was Monsieur Demons, a French citizen, lieutenant in the merchant service and first officer of the ship, whilst the movements of the Boz-Kourt were directed by its captain, Hassan Bey, who was one of those saved from the wreck. As early as August 3rd the Turkish police proceeded to hold an enquiry into the collision on board theLotus; and on the following day, August 4th, the captain of the Lotus handed in his master's report at the French Consulate-General, transmitting a copy to the harbour master. On August 5th, Lieutenant Demons was requested by the Turkish authorities to go ashore to give evidence. The examination, the length of which incidentally resulted in delaying the departure of the Lotus, led to the placingunder arrest of Lieutenant Demons -- without previous notice being given to the French Consul-General -- and Hassan Bey, amongst others. This arrest, which has been characterized by the Turkish Agent as arrest pending trial (arrestation préventive), was effected in order to ensure that the criminal prosecution instituted against the two officers, on a charge of manslaughter, by the Public Prosecutorof Stamboul, on the complaint of the families of the victims of the collision, should follow its normal course. The case was first heard by the Criminal Court of Stamboul on August 28th. On that occasion, Lieutenant Demons submitted that the Turkish Courts had no jurisdiction; the Court, however, overruled his objection. When the proceedings were resumed on September 11th, Lieutenant Demons...
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