AIR AGE: All Power to the Pilot

One of the trickiest and most disputed questions in the nebulous world of international law is legal jurisdiction in the air. If a Swiss citizen slips arsenic into his wife's martini on a British airliner flying from Frankfurt to Paris, which country should prosecute—Great Britain because the plane is British, France because the plane landed there after the crime, Switzerland since Swiss citizens were involved, or Germany in whose airspace the crime was committed?

In the age of jets, the answer is still unclear and the problem increasingly acute. To date, in the absence of international agreement, offenders have been...

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