Hijacked Airplanes - May They Be Shot Down?

New Criminal Law Review, Vol. 10, No. 4, pp. 582-612, 2006

31 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2011

See all articles by Tatjana Hörnle

Tatjana Hörnle

Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law

Date Written: March 15, 2006

Abstract

The article examines whether force against a hijacked airplane is permissible if uninvolved passengers are killed. It takes a recent ruling by the German Federal Constitutional Court as its starting point, but addresses the relevant issues on a more general level with arguments drawn from mo ral philosophy, criminal law theory and constitutional theory, and political philosophy. The author concludes that a private individual who applies deadly force against the plane would commit a criminal wrong but should be excused. If, however, state officials act to protect the lives of other citizens, protective rights stand against defensive rights. Because such conflicts cannot be resolved within a discourse about rights, it is legitimate to save the greater number of persons.

Keywords: criminal law, Luftsicherheitsgesetz, German Federal Constitution Court,; hijacked airplane, defences

Suggested Citation

Hörnle, Tatjana, Hijacked Airplanes - May They Be Shot Down? (March 15, 2006). New Criminal Law Review, Vol. 10, No. 4, pp. 582-612, 2006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1798752

Tatjana Hörnle (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law ( email )

Guenterstalstr. 73
Freiburg, 79100
Germany

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