Territorial jurisdiction is the power of the state that affects persons, property, and conditions within its internationally recognized boundaries. This applies to their handling of criminal activities according to the laws of the land within their boundaries. However, these principles have been adapted to allow the authorities to operate and pursue wanted persons in another country or territory. The best examples of this are the ‘Channel Tunnel’ between the United Kingdom and France and the 1994 peace agreement between Israel and Jordan. This envisages the nationality principles whereby any country can apply criminal jurisdiction to any person who has committed an offense in their country.
However, this has been used more frequently during the end of the 20th century when Britain adopted the War Crimes Act in 1991 and the Sex Offender Act in 1997. The principles of International Law also apply to ships and aircraft that bear the nationality of the country whose flag they are bearing or under which they are registered. National courts always have judicial authority over any crime that has been committed in their territory. For example, if a person shot and killed another person in another place and leaves the place, then the authorities of the territory where the person was murdered has legal authority over the offender.
Included in the Territoriality principles of International Law is the situation of “objective territoriality” where it was ruled, in a case that Turkey could exercise jurisdiction in French territory because the crime was committed in Turkey. In the absence of any laws or documented principles regarding an international accord or law to settle any dispute, then the general principles of law are used as stop gap measure to fill in the requisite disparity. Generally, the best way of solving difficult issues is with previous references of bilateral accords or laws enacted by the legislature or some other written matter which gives evidence of some other similar dispute with the implementation of certain laws and principles.
Traditionally this principle has been used more with civil law systems than with common law ones Disputes are also settled according to local customs and the laws that have been created in accordance with these customs. It is not possible for any law or principles to foresee all eventualities and make laws to cover everything. In such cases, general principles of law are applied to fill the void and these are referred to as “non-consensual” laws. When taking decisions, judges usually cite precedents from other sources and judgments of the law that was applied in resolving a similar case.