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Prize Law and Contraband in Modern Naval Warfare

  • Marcel Schulz
Chapter
Part of the Operational Maritime Law book series (OPMAL, volume 1)

Abstract

Prize law and the law of contraband are based on the rules of peacetime public international law, especially peacetime law of the sea. The origin of prize and contraband laws is the Paris Declaration of 1856; however, they still are part of the modern humanitarian law and the law of armed conflict at sea. Many historical regulations have barely changed and remain valid today, with States showing no interest in changing them.

This chapter initially illuminates historical developments of this very unique and special aspect of naval warfare, which is the precondition for any understanding of modern rules. The Paris Declaration abolished privateering and established the distinction between the neutral and enemy characteristics of vessels as the legal basis for capture and seizure.

The second part of this chapter discusses how only civilian objects—vessels, aircraft and goods—may be subject to prize law and the law of contraband and details necessary definitions. It then focuses on conditions and different aspects of the right to visit, search and diversion that exists today. Lastly, the second part of the chapter outlines conditions for capture and seizure and the legal consequences of resistance against it.

The last section of the chapter addresses the issue of prize court proceedings.

While there may be uncertainties regarding some details, the chapter demonstrates that there is a general agreement on the core rules of prize law and law of contraband. They are in no way outdated but rather provide a very practicable framework.

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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and its text is not subject to copyright protection in the United States; however, its text may be subject to foreign copyright protection 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcel Schulz
    • 1
  1. 1.The Parliamentary Party of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD, Landtag) of the Federal German State of Brandenburg regarding, (Law and Economy)PotsdamGermany

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