JURISDICTION OVER CRIMES COMMITTED ON BOARD AIRCRAFT IN FLIGHT UNDER THE TOKYO CONVENTION 1963
Keywords:aviation offences, aviation security, inflight crimes, international aviation law, jurisdiction, Tokyo Convention
Purpose: the main aim of this paper is to clarify several issues of conflicting jurisdiction over crimes committed on board aircraft in flight. The study will examine the way in which the Tokyo Convention attempts to provide justice in the event of aviation security violations, and discuss its effectiveness in preventing such offences in the future. Methods: formal legal and case-study methods together with inductive reasoning, and comparison were used to analyse the legislation in the area of jurisdiction over crimes and other offences committed on board aircraft in flight. Results: it follows from the study that although the Tokyo Convention has contributed considerably to the establishing of clearer rules of jurisdiction over offences committed on board aircraft, considerable deficiencies of this treaty remain. The results have important implications for international policy-making. Discussion: the results of the study reveal several weaknesses of the Tokyo Convention. Firstly, it does not provide any definition or list of offences to which it applies, instead it relies on national penal laws to do so. In addition, the ‘freedom fighter exception’ and the lack of a strong enforcement mechanism may prove to impede the effective attainment of the Tokyo Convention’s main objectives – that is, to provide justice in the event of aviation security violations, and prevent such offences in the future. Therefore, further improvement in aviation security legislation is necessary to ensure that it is effective and adequate in the challenges faced today.
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