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Lawful and Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft

NCJ Number
Terrorism Volume: 1 Issue: 3 and 4 Dated: (1978) Pages: 423-440
J W F Sundberg
Date Published
18 pages
The concepts of lawful and unlawful seizure of aircraft are explored based on the title of the Hague antihijacking convention; litigated hijacking cases are used to illustrate the discussion.
The article shows, based on the cases, that the doctrine of justification--one of the general defenses admitted in all penal law systems--also addresses itself to matters abroad, including foreign penal law systems. It suggests that this doctrine is broad enough to provide defenses in may hijacking cases as a side effect of what foreign policy is pursued. The cases discussed include the Patty Hearst case, which is seen as a counterpart to the Tannous and Halasseh case in which two female participants in a four-member Palestine guerilla patrol argued, in their defense, that they were compelled to carry arms under threats and to participate in the hijacking of a Sabena airliner. Other cases include the hijacking of Tshombe, the former prime minister of Zaire and the Swedish Flamourides case involving the Swedish confrontation policy against Greece. It is concluded that the issue of unlawfulness did not seem to play a significant role in the formal reasoning of the court. Further, governments working by means of treaties cannot achieve more than governments working by means of codification. Footnotes and 18 references are included.