Re H (Lake Constance)

CourtObsolete Court (Germany)
Docket NumberCase No. 51
Date25 o 1923
Reichsgericht Germany
Case No. 51
In re H (Lake Constance)

Lakes — Lake Constance — Baden and Thurgau — The Theory of Condominium — The Middle Line.

See In re H. (Lake Constance), decided by the German Reichsgericht in Criminal Matters on 25 September, 1923. In this case the question arose as to the international position of part of Lake Constance (Obersee).1 The Court found that the international position of the Lake was controversial. It surveyed the literature on the subject. It found that according to some authors the Lake is under the condominium of the riparian States, while according to others the middle line of the Lake constitutes the frontier.

The Court held that the view must be preferred according to which the middle line constitutes the frontier. The general rules of international law were against the theory of condominium; there was a tendency in international law to assimilate the rules as to lakes to those obtaining in regard to rivers.2 There was no reason not to apply to Lake Constance the principles generally agreed as being applicable to Lake Geneva.

A lake under the régime of condominium would have to be regarded as neutral during a war. In fact, however, during the World War the riparian States exercised rights of sovereignty up to the middle line by sending armed boats to supervise the Lake

1 The following parts of Lake Constance in so far as they affect Baden (Lake Constance is surrounded by Baden, Württemberg, Bavaria, Austria and the Swiss Cantons of Thurgau and St. Gallen) may be distinguished: (1) The so-called Lower...

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