• Iryna Sopilko National Aviation University
  • Yevhenii Shevchuk University of Cambridge




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.

Author Biographies

Iryna Sopilko, National Aviation University

D.J.S, Associate Professor.

Director of Academic Law Institute of National Aviation University

Academic Law Institute of National Aviation University, Kyiv, Ukraine.

Education: Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine (2000).

Research area: legal regulation the access of citizens to public information, human rights and the peculiarities of their realization and protection in Ukraine.

Yevhenii Shevchuk, University of Cambridge


University of Cambridge

Education: University of Cambridge (2015).

Research area: international law, international aviation law, international relations.


Convention on International Civil Aviation, arts. 17-18, opened for signature Dec. 7, 1944, 61 Stat. 1180, 15 UNTS. 295 (entered into force Apr. 4, 1947).

Convention on Offences and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft, opened for signature Sept. 14, 1963, 704 UNTS 219 (entered into force Dec. 4, 1969).

U.S. v Cordova, 89 F. Supp. 298 (EDNY 1950).

Shubber S. (1973) Jurisdiction Over Crimes on Board Aircraft. Springer Netherlands, The Hague.

U.S. Public Law 514, July 12, 1952.

Evans M.D. (2010) International Law. Oxford University Press.

McCarthy J.G. (1989) The Passive Personality Principle and Its Use in Combatting International Terrorism. 13 Fordham International Law Journal 298.

Criminal Code of the Russian Federation 1996, art. 12(1).

Havel B.F., Sanchez G.S. (2014) The Principles and Practice of International Aviation Law. Cambridge University Press.

Bonn Declaration on International Terrorism, Pub. Papers 1308, Jul. 17, 1978, reprinted in 17 ILM 1285.



How to Cite

Sopilko, I., & Shevchuk, Y. (2016). JURISDICTION OVER CRIMES COMMITTED ON BOARD AIRCRAFT IN FLIGHT UNDER THE TOKYO CONVENTION 1963. Proceedings of the National Aviation University, 69(4), 121–125. https://doi.org/10.18372/2306-1472.69.11064