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Martin Franco B.

Sison / Juris Doctor 2-B / Special Issues in International Law (SIIL) /

Atty. Ethel Torio



III. TOPIC: Jurisdiction; Criminal Jurisdiction and Flag state jurisdiction

on the high seas

IV. FORUM: Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ)

V. DATE OF DECISION:September 7, 1927


On August 2 1926, a collision occurred on the high seas between the French mail
steamer Lotus, proceeding to Constantinople, and the Turkish collier, Boz Kourt. The
Boz Kourt sank and eight Turkish nationals perished. When, Lotus arrived in
Constantinople, the Turkish authorities proceeded to hold an enquiry into the collision.
They instituted joint criminal proceedings in accordance with the Turkish law against the
captain of the Boz Kourt, and the officer on watch on board the Lotus at the time of
the collision, Lieutenant Demons, a French citizen, on a charge of manslaughter.

The Criminal Court of Istanbul sentenced Demons to 80 days of imprisonment

and a fine. The proceedings had been instituted in pursuance of Turkish legislation.
According, to the French Government, the Criminal Court claimed jurisdiction under
Article 6 of the Turkish Penal Code. The French government protested, demanding the
release of Demons or the transfer of his case to the French Courts. Turkey and France
agreed to refer this dispute on the jurisdiction to the Permanent Court of International
Justice (PCIJ).


Whether or Not Turkey violate international law when Turkish courts exercised
jurisdiction over a crime committed by a French national, outside Turkey? If yes, should
Turkey pay compensation to France?


NO. Turkey, by instituting criminal proceedings against Demons, did not violate
international law.

The Court found that the French contention that Turkey, in order to have
Jurisdiction, should be able to point to some title of jurisdiction recognized by
International law was opposed to generally accepted International law, as referred to by
Article 15. It stated that the first restriction imposed by International law upon a state was
that it could not exercise its power in any form in the territory of another state. However,
this did not imply that International law prohibits a state from exercising jurisdiction in its
own territory in respect of any case that relates acts that have taken place abroad and in
which it cannot rely on some permissive rule of International law.

The Court found that Turkish Jurisdiction was justifiable not because of the
nationality of the victims but because the effects of the offence were produced on a
Turkish ship, and consequently, in a place assimilated to Turkish territory in which the
application of Turkish criminal law cannot be challenged. Once it was admitted that the
effects of the offence were produced on the Turkish Vessel, it became impossible to hold
that there was a rule of international law that prohibited Turkey from prosecuting
Lieutenant Demons simply because the author of the offence was on board the French

Martin Franco B. Sison / Juris Doctor 2-B / Special Issues in International Law (SIIL) /
Atty. Ethel Torio


II. FULL TITLE: KISAJIRO OKAMOTO, captain of the Japanese motor fishing
sampan, Hosho Maru, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. THE INSULAR
COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS, Defendant-Appellant.
(G.R. No. L-39969; July 11, 1934)

III. TOPIC: International Law; Jurisdiction of Collector of Customs


Revenue cutter Arayat sighted a Japanese fishing boat named the Hosho Maru,
anchored a short distance away from Salomague Island, a small island off the cost of
Northern Luzon. A boarding party was put aboard the fishing vessel and found seven
bags of rice, three sharks, three tunas, and three trays of bait, with fishing tackle but no
articles of commerce or passengers. Upon a report being made to the Insular Collector
of Customs, that official directed the seizure of the Hosho Maru and, after administrative
proceedings, decreed the forfeiture of the vessel and directed its sale at public auction
for the benefit of the Government, due to the violation of customs and quarantine laws
and regulations. The captain appealed the case to the Court of First Instance of Manila,
where additional evidence was taken. That court held that the Hosho Maru took refuge in
Philippine waters on account of stress of weather, that the Hosho Maru was not engaged
in the importation of merchandise in any Philippine port, and that nothing had been
found indicating that the fishing vessel unlawfully violated any customs or quarantine law
or regulation. Therefore the order of confiscation and forfeiture was reversed and the
vessel ordered returned to its owner, with costs against the Insular Collector of Customs.
The Solicitor-General brings this appeal and asks this court to reverse the judgment of
the Court of First Instance of Manila and affirm the decision of the Insular Collector of

Whether or Not the Collector of Customs has authority to order the forfeiture of
the vessel.


NO. The Collector of Customs has no authority to order the forfeiture of the
vessel. Our attention has not been called to any statute authorizing the Collector of
Customs to order the forfeiture of this boat. Both in England and in the United States
confiscation of a vessel for violation of a customs law cannot be had administratively but
only by court proceedings. Section 1363 of the Administrative Code provides for the
forfeiture of vessels engaged in certain specified illegal actions, none which apply in this
case. It therefore must be held that the Collector of Customs was without authority to
order the forfeiture of the vessel.
In this kind of appeal the lower court had the right to take additional evidence and
is not limited to the administrative record as in cases of immigration and deportation of
aliens. The rule in this kind of case is correctly set forth in Smith, Bell & Co vs. Collector
of Customs (37 Phil., 87).
The right of asylum from stress of weather is a right well recognized by
international law and is in accordance with the dictates of Christianity. The only limitation
is that the weather must be such as to create an honest belief in the mind of a skillful
and firm mariner.
As the Solicitor-General is unable to point out the specific law or regulation that
he claims the Hosho Maru violated, further proceedings are deemed unnecessary. The
judgment appealed from is therefore affirmed with the modification that costs in both
instances will be de oficio.

Martin Franco B. Sison / Juris Doctor 2-B / Special Issues in International Law (SIIL) /
Atty. Ethel Torio



APPEALS, former 10th Division with HON. ANTONIO M.
and HON. RAMON MABUTAS, as members, respondents.
(G.R. No. 116688. August 30, 1996)

III. TOPIC: Jurisdiction; Vessel in transit


Petitioner Calme and four other persons were accused of killing Edgardo Bernal
by allegedly throwing him overboard the M/V Cebu City, an interisland passenger ship
owned and operated by William Lines, Inc., while the vessel was sailing from Ozamis
City to Cebu City on the night of 12 May 1991.Petitioner impugned the Oroquieta RTCs
jurisdiction over the offense charged through a motion to quash which, however, was
denied by Judge Celso Conol of RTC, Branch 12, Oroquieta City. Petitioner Calmes
petition for certiorari and prohibition was denied due course and dismissed by the Court
of Appeals in its decision dated 10 December 1993. Petitioners motion for
reconsideration of said decision was denied in the Court of Appeals resolution of 14 July
1994. Hence this present appeal.


Whether or not the Oroquieta court has jurisdiction over the offense charged
against petitioner


YES. The Oroquieta court has jurisdiction over the offense charged. The exact
location where the alleged offense was committed was not duly established. The Marine
protest simply adverted that the vessel was within the waters of Siquijor Island when the
captain was informed of the incident, which does not necessarily prove that the alleged
murder took place in the same area. In any case, where the crime was actually
committed is immaterial since it is undisputed that it occurred while the vessel was in
transit. In transit simply means on the way or passage; while passing from one person or
place to another. In the course of transportation, hence, undoubtedly, the applicable
provision is par. (c) of Sec. 15 (now Section 14), Rule 110 which provides that where an
offense is committed on board a vessel in the course of its voyage, the criminal action
may be instituted and tried in the proper court of the first port of entry or of any
municipality or territory through which the vessel passed during such voyage subject to
the generally accepted principles of international law.

Martin Franco B. Sison / Juris Doctor 2-B / Special Issues in International Law (SIIL) /
Atty. Ethel Torio


II. FULL TITLE: ALFREDO DE LA FUENTE, as Collector of Customs,

Port of Sual, ROLANDO GEOTINA, as Commissioner of
Customs, HILARIO RUIZ, as Flag Officer In Command,
Philippine Navy, and GIL FERNANDEZ, as Commandant,
Philippine Coast Guard, petitioners,
vs. HON. JESUS DE VEYRA, in his capacity as Judge of
the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch XIV, LUCKY
ENTERPRISES CO. (HK) LTD., respondents.

(G.R. No. L-35385; January 31, 1983)

III. TOPIC: International Law; Jurisdiction


The crew of a Q-boat of the Philippine Coast Guard spotted a vessel, the M/V
Lucky Star I, owned by the private respondent Lucky Star Shipping Co., unloading cargo
to several small watercrafts alongside the vessel off the coast of Zambales
approximately thirty (30) nautical miles east of Scarborough Shoal or twenty-three (23)
miles east of the International Treaty Limits.
As the Q-boat was approaching the M/V Lucky Star I, it was met by gunfire from
the smaller watercrafts which immediately fled from the scene. Only the M/V Lucky Star
I was apprehended.
Upon boarding the vessel, the Philippine Coast Guard officers discovered 3,400
cases of foreign made "Champion, menthol, filter-tipped, king-size cigarettes" allegedly
owned by Teng Bee Enterprises Co. (HK) Ltd., co-respondent herein.
The captain of the Lucky Star I, Li Tak Sin, was not able to present documents or
papers for the "Champion" cigarettes. He and the crew were arrested for smuggling. The
boarding officers also seized the Lucky Star I and ordered its complement.
A warrant of seizure and detention was issued by the Collector of Customs of the
Port of Sual-Dagupan against the vessel and articles seized for violation of the Tariff and
Customs Code as to the vessel and as to the cigarettes. The Acting Provincial Fiscal
filed before the Court of First Instance of Zambales, Branch II, an information against Li
Tak Sin, the crew of Lucky Star I, and other persons. Meanwhile, the private respondents
Lucky Star Shipping Company and Teng Bee Enterprises Company (HK) Ltd. filed
before the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch XIV, presided over by respondent
judge, the Hon. Jesus de Veyra. a complaint for injunction and recovery of personal
property against the petitioners praying for the return of the goods seized and the
release of the M/V Lucky Star I.
The respondent judge issued an order declaring itself without jurisdiction over the
petition for mandatory preliminary injunction. The petitioners asked for a reconsideration
of the aforequoted order. However, the respondent judge denied the petitioners' motion
for reconsideration. Hence, this petition for certiorari and prohibition filed by Alfredo de la
Fuente, in his capacity as Collector of Customs.


Whether or not the Court of First Instance has jurisdiction to take cognizance of
the complaint filed by the private respondents for the release of the vessel M/V Lucky
Star I, which is the subject of a seizure and forfeiture proceedings before the Collector of
Customs of the port of Sual-Dagupan.

Martin Franco B. Sison / Juris Doctor 2-B / Special Issues in International Law (SIIL) /
Atty. Ethel Torio


NO. It is well-settled that the exclusive jurisdiction over seizure and forfeiture
cases vested in the Collector of Customs precludes a Court of First Instance from
assuming cognizance over such cases. We, therefore, set aside the assailed orders of
the respondent judge.
The contentions of the private respondents are untenable. The Collector of
Customs when sitting in forfeiture proceedings constitutes a tribunal expressly vested by
law with jurisdiction to hear and determine the subject matter of such proceedings
without any interference from the Court of First Instance. The Collector of Customs of
Sual-Dagupan in Seizure Identification No. 14-F-72 constituted itself as a tribunal to hear
and determine among other things, the question of whether or not the M/V Lucky Star I
was seized within the territorial waters of the Philippines. If the private respondents
believe that the seizure was made outside the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines, it
should raise the same as a defense before the Collector of Customs and if not satisfied,
follow the correct appellate procedures. A separate action before the Court of First
Instance is not the remedy.

Martin Franco B. Sison / Juris Doctor 2-B / Special Issues in International Law (SIIL) /
Atty. Ethel Torio



CHAW (alias LUK CHIU), Defendant-Appellant.
(G.R. No. L-5889; July 12, 1911)

III. TOPIC: Criminal Jurisdiction prevails in the absence of an

agreement under International treaty.


Messrs. Jacks and Milliron, chief of the department of the port of Cebu and
internal-revenue agent of Cebu, respectively, went aboard the steamship Erroll of
English nationality, that it came from Hongkong, and that it was bound for
Mexico, via the call ports of Manila and Cebu, to inspect and search its cargo where they
found 2 sacks of opium. 2 charges were then filed against Look Chaw at the Court of
First Instance of Cebu: (1) unlawful possession of opium and (2) unlawful sale of opium.
Look Chaw admitted that he had bought these sacks of opium, in Hongkong with the
intention of selling them as contraband in Mexico or Vera Cruz, and that, as his hold had
already been searched several times for opium, he ordered two other Chinamen to keep
the sack. The court ruled that it did not lack jurisdiction, inasmuch as the crime had been
committed within its district, on the wharf of Cebu. The court sentenced him to 5 years
imprisonment, to pay a fine of P10,000, with additional subsidiary imprisonment in case
of insolvency. It further ordered the confiscation, in favor of the Insular Government.
Hence, this present appeal.


Whether or Not the Philippine court has jurisdiction over the offense charged.


YES. although the mere possession of a thing of prohibited use in these Islands,
aboard a foreign vessel in transit, in any of their ports, does not, as a general rule,
constitute a crime triable by the courts of this country, on account of such vessel being
considered as an extension of its own nationality, the same rule does not apply when the
article, whose use is prohibited within the Philippine Islands, in the present case a can of
opium, is landed from the vessel upon Philippine soil, thus committing an open violation
of the laws of the land, with respect to which, as it is a violation of the penal law in force
at the place of the commission of the crime, only the court established in that said place
itself had competent jurisdiction, in the absence of an agreement under an international

Martin Franco B. Sison / Juris Doctor 2-B / Special Issues in International Law (SIIL) /
Atty. Ethel Torio



III. TOPIC: Hot Pursuit on the High seas

IV. FORUM: Appointment of two commissioners under Article IV of the

Liquour Convention of January 23, 1924 between the
United States of America and the United Kingdom.

V. DATE OF DECISION:January 5, 1935


The Im Alone, a British ship of Canadian registry controlled and managed by

United States citizens was sunk by gunfire from a US Coast guard vessel at a point on
the high seas more than 200 miles from the coast of the United States. It was alleged
that the ship was used in smuggling alcoholic liquor into the United States. At that time, it
was illegal to smuggle alcohol. It was ordered to stop for inspection at a point outside the
U.S territorial waters but declined. This led to a pursuit of the ship by a vessel, Wolcott
and after two days of pursuit it was joined by the coast guard vessel, Dexter, which
eventually sunk the Im Alone. This resulted to death of one person and the rest of the
crew was rescued.

The above actions led to diplomatic row between the US and Canada. Canada
claimed that sinking the ship was illegal and not justified according to the Convention
between The United States Of America and Great Britain to Aid in The Prevention of The
Smuggling Of Intoxicating Liquors Into The United States. The dispute between the
parties was subsequently submitted to a commission prescribed then by article 4 of that

While the U.S claimed that their actions were justified pursuant to the Anglo-
American Convention signed by the US and Britain and Britain could raise no objection
since it was within the one hour steaming zone designated by the convention; Canada
contended that the convention did not confer any right of hot pursuit even within the
conventional limit.


Whether or Not the US Government under the convention has the right of Hot
Pursuit where the offending vessel is within an hours sailing distance of the shore at the
commencement of the hot pursuit and beyond that distance at its termination.


NO. The Commissioners said that the United States might, consistently with the
Convention, use necessary and reasonable force for the purpose of effecting the objects
of boarding, searching, seizing and bringing into port the suspected vessel; and if sinking
should occur accidentally, as the result of the exercise of necessary and reasonable
force for such purpose, the pursuing vessel might be entirely blameless. The
commissioners considered that the sinking of the vessel was not justified by anything in
the convention nor in any principle of International law. The Commissioners also
recommended that the United States ought formally to acknowledge its illegality and to
apologize to his Majestys Canadian Government, therefore, and further, that as a
material in respect of the wrong, the United States should pay the sum of $25,000 to his
Majestys Canadian Government.

Martin Franco B. Sison / Juris Doctor 2-B / Special Issues in International Law (SIIL) /
Atty. Ethel Torio

Right to hot pursuit is highly appreciated. However, this right is subject to

reservations. The first is that the pursuing country must pay due regard to the equality of
states principle that is contained in Article 2(4) of the UN Charter. Also, the ship may only
pursue the foreign ship to a distance of 12 nautical miles from its territory. It is also
required that the pursuit may only be continued outside the territorial sea or the
contiguous zone if it has been continuous and not interrupted. An order to stop must
have been given to the vessel before being pursued and it has defied. Another condition
is that the pursuit may only be exercised by warships, military aircraft or ships or aircraft
clearly marked as being on governmental service, that is, marine police officers. Finally,
once the ship enters its territorial waters or those of another state, the pursuit must stop.
[1] This is aimed at observing the principle of territorial sovereignty.[2] However, foreign
states may be allowed to conduct hot pursuit through territorial waters if certain
conditions are met, for example, when the hot pursuit continues uninterrupted.