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A territory is the space within which a State , the state power (and thus its sovereign rights exercised).

The national territory is to be delimited from the sovereign territory : As a rule, the national territory and sovereign territory coincide, but it can - as for example on the basis of diplomatic missions (see diplomatic status ) or due to special agreements (e.g. in the case of Guantanamo Bay in Cuba) - there are also areas within a state territory within which the respective state - in favor of another state or another subject of international law  - does not exercise sovereignty. These areas then still belong to his national territory ( i.e. they are not extraterritorial areas ), but not in the narrower sense of his territory. Ships on the high seas, in turn, are not part of the national territory of the flag state , but the flag state can exercise its exclusive sovereign rights there (in accordance with Art. 91 of the Law of the Sea ).


In the absence of natural markings, there is in some cases disputes between states as to how far the territory extends beyond the coast . There is also greater disagreement about how far a state's territory extends into space .

special cases

Structures under international law such as condominiums (common territories of several states, e.g. between Germany and Luxembourg ), no-man's lands (the absence of state or sovereign territory, e.g. Bir Tawil ) and mandate areas / colonies / protectorates also pose a special situation ( External administration by other states, e.g. the historic League of Nations mandate for Palestine ). The historic Panama Canal Zone is also such a special case.

In addition, it can happen that, on the basis of intergovernmental agreements, states also exercise certain sovereign rights in foreign states and territories, for example in the case of early border controls , in the context of administrative assistance or pursuit . In the case of military bases on foreign national territory, state authority is exercised abroad: this can either be done within the framework of international martial law or also on the basis of agreements (such as the NATO troop statute ).

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Territory  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Christoph Drösser: Shipping: Does a ship in international waters belong to the territory of its flag state? . In: Die Zeit , March 31, 2016. 
  2. ^ Sicco Rah: Asylum seekers and migrants at sea state rights and obligations from an international law perspective . Springer, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-540-92930-7 .