Arrest and Return of Savarkar (France / Great Britain)

The case concerned the escape of a British-Indian subject, Mr. Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, who was detained aboard a British commercial vessel harboured at Marseille while en route to India where he was to be tried for the abetment of murder. Mr. Savarkar swam ashore but was chased by crew and arrested by a brigadier of the French maritime gendarmerie. Acting under the mistaken belief that the escapee was a member of the crew, the brigadier brought him on board and turned him over to British agents. The next morning the ship left Marseille with Mr. Savarkar on board.

The French government did not approve of the manner in which Mr. Savarkar had been returned to British custody and demanded his restitution to France, on the grounds that his delivery to British authorities amounts to a defective extradition. The British government contended that, according to the arrangements made for the security of the prisoner while the ship was in port, the French authorities had been obliged to prevent his escape.

The two governments agreed to submit their dispute to arbitration.

The Tribunal found that all those agents who had taken part in the incident had demonstrated good faith. The Tribunal concluded that despite the irregularity committed in the arrest of Mr. Savarkar, such irregularity did not result in any obligation on the British government to restore Mr. Savarkar to the French government.

Case information

Name(s) of Claimant(s)
Name(s) of Respondent(s) -
Names of Parties

Mr. André Weiss (Agent for France)

Mr. Eyre Crowe (Agent for Great Britain)

Case number 1910-03
Administering institution Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)
Case status Concluded
Type of case Inter-state arbitration
Subject matter or economic sector - Other -
Procedural rules - Other -
Treaty or contract under which proceedings were commenced


Language of Proceeding English
Seat of Arbitration (by Country) Netherlands
Arbitrator(s), Conciliator(s), Other Neutral(s)

His Excellency A. Beernaert

Rt. Hon. Count de Desart

Mr. L. Renault

Mr. G. Gram

His Excellency Jonkheer A.F. de Savornin Lohman


Representatives of the Claimant(s) -
Representatives of the Respondent(s) -
Representatives of the Parties
Number of Arbitrators in case 5
Date of commencement of proceeding 25 October 1910
Date of issue of final award 24 February 1911
Length of Proceedings Less than one year
Additional notes -


Award or other decision
Award of the Tribunal