International Law Keyed to Damrosche
The Case of the S.S. Lotus (France v. Turkey)
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A collision occurred shortly before midnight on the 2nd of August 1926 between the French (P) mail steamer Lotus and the Turkish (D) collier Boz-Kourt. The French mail steamer was captained by a French citizen by the name Demons while the Turkish collier Boz-Kourt was captained by Hassan Bey. The Turks lost eight men after their ship cut into two and sank as a result of the collision.Although the Lotus did all it could do within its power to help the ship wrecked persons, it continued on its course to Constantinople, where it arrived on August 3. On the 5th of August, Lieutenant Demons was asked by the Turkish (D) authority to go ashore to give evidence. After Demons was examined, he was placed under arrest without informing the French (P) Consul-General and Hassan Bey. Demons were convicted by the Turkish (D) courts for negligence conduct in allowing the accident to occur.This basis was contended by Demons on the ground that the court lacked jurisdiction over him. With this, both countries agreed to submit to the Permanent Court of International Justice, the question of whether the exercise of Turkish (D) criminal jurisdiction over Demons for an incident that occurred on the high seas contravened international law.
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