The wildenhus case.USA Vs BELGIUM

The wildenhus case.USA Vs BELGIUM

Principle: Objective territorial principle, a state gets jurisdiction over crime, if any of the constituent elements of the crime is consummated in its territory.

Facts: The Belgian steamer Noorland was docked in the port of New Jersey. ON October 6, 1886, one of the Belgian members of the crew, Joseph Wilderhus fought with another Belgian crew Fiznnts, below docks. Fizants died as a consequence of the wound. Wildenhus was charged with murder and sent to the jail. Beloian authority claimed the case to be handled by Belgian law because no third person from another country was involved and the crime had placed between two Belgian citizens and both of them were also the crews of the same ship. They raised the contention that as the commission of the crime had not disturbed the public order or law or the tranquility of shore. The US circuit court did not grant the contention and refused to deliver the arrested persons. The Consul of Belgium appealed against this decision.


  1. Does murder in a foreign vessel in the port affects only member of the foreign crews nobody else
  2. Does it constitute a disturbance to the tranquillity of the port? and
  3. Thereby justify the assertion of jurisdiction by the local law enforcement agencies?


In the decision, the court affirmed the contentions made by the USA.

Reasoning: The crime such as murder disturbs the tranquillity and public order on the shore or in the port; such crime should be regarded as failing to be in compliance With the Act of 1886, where the local authorities have a right to interfere and investigate.

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Rayhanul Islam

The author is an original thinker; often challenges the regular rule of conduct considering various perspective on the basis of scientific reasoning to ensure the peace and prosperity of the society. He works as lawyer and promotes legal knowledge and human right concept to the root level. The author is also a tech enthusiast and web developer, he loves psychology as well. connect me @

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