The Corfu Channel Case and the Limits of Self-Defense


  • Aftab Haider Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, Pakistan
  • Sunila Iqbal Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, Pakistan
  • Bushra Zeb Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, Pakistan



ICJ, Corfu Channel Case, International Law, Law of the sea, United Nations


The Corfu channel case which was a landmark case decided by the International Court of Justice in 1949. The case involved the setup of mines in the Corfu Channel by Albania in 1946, which claimed the lives of 44 British soldiers and destroyed several war vessels. The UK brought a case against Albania alleging that they violated international law by not informing soldiers about possible hazards as well as not clearing the minefields. Albania argued that it was at liberty to mine its territorial waters and therefore not liable for mining on the channel. However, ICJ found that Albania was not reasonable enough in protecting vessels in the Corfu Channel and did not conduct itself in accordance to international law. The mining proved Albania liable for damages. There are many lasting significances in the Corfu Channel case viz this case enunciated the principle that asserts states responsibility to protect foreign ships within their territorial waters, confirmed the right to pass through international straits, and accentuated broader aspect on recourse to armed force in self-defense. State responsibility was also observed in this case. In a notable departure from the actual events, the ICJ held Albania accountable for damages caused by the mines, emphasizing their failure to inform ships about potential dangers and their inability to prevent the mining of the channel. The Corfu Channel case remains a compelling study in international law with profound implications.


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How to Cite

Aftab Haider, Sunila Iqbal, & Bushra Zeb. (2023). The Corfu Channel Case and the Limits of Self-Defense. Journal of Islamic and Social Studies, 2(1), 1–9.