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ART. II. Jurisdiction in matters of prize is exercised in the first instance by the prize courts of the belligerent captor.
The judgments of these courts are pronounced in public or are officially notified to parties, concerned who are neutrals or enemies.
Art. III. The judgments of national prize courts may be brought before the international prize court: (1) When the judgment of the national prize courts affects the property of a neutral power or individual. (2) When the judgment affects enemy property and relates to
(a) Cargo on board a neutral ship.
(b) An enemy ship captured in the territorial waters of a neutral power when that power has not made the capture the subject of a diplomatic claim.
(c) A claim based upon the allegation that the seizure has been effected in violation either of the provisions of a convention in force between the belligerent powers, or of an enactment issued by the belligerent captor.
The appeal against the judgment of the national court can be based on the ground that the judgment was wrong either in fact or in law.
Art. IV. An appeal may be brought: (1) By a neutral power, if the judgment of the national tribunals injuriously affects its property or the property of its nationals (article 3, 1), or if the capture of an enemy vessel is alleged to have taken place in the territorial waters of that power (article 3, 2, b). (2) By a neutral individual, if the judgment of the national court injuriously affects his property (article 3, 1), subject, however, to the reservation that the power to which he belongs may forbid him to bring the case before the court, or may itself undertake the proceedings in his place. (3) By an individual subject or citizen of an enemy power, if the judgment of the national court injuriously affects his property in the cases referred to in article 3; (2) except that mentioned in paragraph (b).
ART. V. An appeal may also be brought on the same conditions as in the preceding article by persons belonging either to neutral states or to the enemy, deriving their rights from and entitled to represent an individual qualified to appeal, and who have taken part in the proceedings before the national court. Persons so entitled may appeal separately tu the extent of their interest.
The same rule applies in the case of persons belonging either to neutral states or to the enemy who derive their rights from and are entitled to represent a neutral power whose property was the subject of the decision.
ART. VII. If a question of law to be decided is covered by a treaty in force between the belligerent captor and a power which is itself or whose subject or citizen is a party to the proceedings, the court is governed by the provisions of the said treaty.
In the absence of such provisions the court shall apply the rules of international law. If no generally recognized rule exists, the court shall give judgment in accordance with the general principles of justice and equity.
ART. VIII. If the court pronounces the capture of the vessel or cargo to be valid they shall be disposed of in accordance with the laws of the belligerent captor.
If it pronounces the capture to be null, the court shall order restitution of the vessel or cargo, and shall fix, if there is occasion, the amount of the damages. If the vessel or cargo have been sold or destroyed, the court shall determine the compensation to be given to the owner on this account.
If the national court pronounced the capture to be null, the court can only be asked to decide as to the damages.
Art. XIV. The court is composed of 15 judges_9 judges constitute a quorum.
A judge who is absent or prevented from sitting is replaced by the deputy judge.
ART. XV. The judges appointed by the following contracting powers-Germany, the United States of America, Austria-Hungary, France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, and Russia--are always summoned to sit.
The judges and deputy judges appointed by the other contracting powers sit by rota, as shown in the table annexed, to the present convention; their duties may be performed successively by the same person. The same judge may be appointed by several of the said powers.
If there is to be an international prize court, then such differences in practice and theory as exists between the French and English in regard to the duration of liability of penalty for violation of blockade would be properly under consideration. As the Hague Convention in regard to an international prize court has received general approval its ratification is probably merely temporarily delayed. According to the report of the United States delegates:
The purpose then of the convention is to substitute international for national judgment and to subject the decision of a national court to an international tribunal composed of judges trained in maritime law. It was not the intention of the framers of the convention to exclude a judge of the captor's country whose presence on the bench would insure a careful consideration of the captor's point of view, but to make the decision of the case depend upon strangers to the controversy who, without special interest and national bias, would apply in the solution of the case international law and equity. The national judgment becomes international; the judgment of the captor yields to the judgment of the neutral, and it can not be doubted that neutral powers are more likely to guard the rights of neutrals than any bench composed exclusively of national judges. (Instructions to and Report from the Delegates of the United States, Senate Doc. No. 444, p. 45, 60 Cong. Ist sess., 1908.)
Termination of voyage.-Termination of voyage is sometimes held to be when a vessel has moored in a port twenty-four hours in safety. (Lidgett v. Secretan, English Common Pleas, January 24, 1870.)
Port of discharge is often held as termination of voyage.
As was said in the case of the Lucy in 1904, the term "voyage" has no fixed or technical meaning. It may refer to the outward voyage or to the homeward voyage or to the round voyage. (39 Court of Claims, 221.)
The term "voyage” in maritime law has received various interpretations. The common meaning is “the passing of a vessel from one place, port, or country to another.” The term is further defined as “the enterprise entered upon, and not merely the route” (113 Mass. Reports, 326), the time during which the vessel is engaged in performing the contract contained in the charter. (The Carron Park, 15 Probate Div., English Law Repts., 1890, p. 203.) Voyage is sometimes said to be completed on discharge of cargo.
Voyage may be defined arbitrarily by domestic law, e. g., a colonial voyage means a voyage from any port whatever in a British possession, other than British India and Hongkong, to any port whatever, where the distance between such ports exceeds 400 miles, or the duration of the voyage, as determined under this part of this act, exceeds three days. (18 and 19 Vict., c. 119, s. 95.)
In the case of the Warren the entrance to and departure from blockaded port M, of State X, was liable to penalty as parts of a single venture. This venture was, however, complete when the Warren entered St. Thomas and began to load under a new charter and proceeded bona fide to Bremen. The fact that the Warren was in the North Sea bound for Bremen is evidence that this is a new venture in no way connected with the violation of blockade. The Warren, under present law, could probably claim that her voyage to and from port M ended when she reached St. Thomas and that she was therefore exempt.
Résumé.--The ordinary British statement, in which after a time the United States concurred, as to the liability of a vessel which had violated a blockade, was that the vessel might be captured at any time before the end of the return voyage. This rule was formulated with reference to the early commerce by sailing vessels, when the duration of a voyage was comparatively easily determined.
The question as to what constitutes a voyage at the present time, or as to even what constitutes a return voyage, is one upon which there is difference of opinion in maritime law. The introduction of steam vessels has materially changed the methods of transportation. A tramp freight steamer often does not know its course beyond its immediate destination and may never return to the port from which it starts. Such a steamer perhaps takes a cargo from its port of registry, which may be Liverpool, to Constantinople, thence to Bombay, to Yokohama, to San Francisco, to Rio, to Cape Town, etc.
While the General Order 492, issued by the Navy Department of the United States, provides that if a vessel “has succeeded in escaping from a blockaded port she is liable to capture at any time before she reaches her home port,” it also says “but with the termination of the voyage the offense ends," and "the liability of a blockade runner to capture and condemnation begins and terminates with her voyage.” There is a general opinion unfavorable to this doctrine outside of Great Britain and the United States, which opinion would limit the right of capture to the period of the offense or attempted offense of violation of the blockade and the period during which the blockading force is actively endeavoring in a legitimate manner to bring the vessel within its power.
There would be no question as to the right of a blockading force to pursue a vessel which had violated or attempted to violate a blockade upon the high sea, within belligerent waters, or under certain circumstances a pursuing vessel might run within the marginal waters of a neutral state provided no hostile act is committed there. In no case, however, is the vessel liable beyond the completion of her voyage. It is held that a vessel which has entered a blockaded port and is subsequently taken when the port is taken, the blockade being uninterrupted, is liable to penalty because the blockading force has continuously endeavored to make the capture of the port and all offending shipping.
The application of the extreme claims of Great Britain and the United States greatly extends the area of capture of neutral vessels. The present tendency is to restrict this area unless the vessel has incurred guilt, by actual participation in the hostilities, as by unneutral service. The Warren had engaged in a commercial venture involving risk, and the risk should come to an end when she has completed the venture, which would seem to be at the time when she had passed out of the field of naval operations—i. e., when she was no longer in danger from the blockading force. This danger would continue so long as the merchant vessel is pursued by a vessel of the blockading fleet and, if pursued, until she completes her voyage.
The maintenance of the present doctrine of Great Britain and the United States would doubtless incline the international prize court to the opinion that such an act as that of the Warren in entering and departing from the blockaded port is evidence of doubt of the effectiveness of the blockade of port M. It seems to follow that unless there is to be a much stricter interpretation of what constitutes a blockade, there must be a limitation of the extreme claims to liability to capture of a vessel like the Warren till she has reached a home port.
As a matter of policy, also, the United States, usually neutral, following its traditional attitude, would favor the abolition of this extreme claim.
As the United States has not adhered to the convention allowing prize to be sent into neutral ports pending adjudication, there would be the further practical difficulty of sending the Warren to a United States court for trial. The distance would be great, the liability for the delay