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in international law, goods necessary or useful in the prosecution of war that a belligerent may lawfully seize from a neutral who is attempting to deliver them to the enemy. The term is sometimes also applied to the goods carried into a country by smugglingsmuggling,
illegal transport across state or national boundaries of goods or persons liable to customs or to prohibition. Smuggling has been carried on in nearly all nations and has occasionally been adopted as an instrument of national policy, as by Great Britain against Spain
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. The penalty for carrying contraband goods is the confiscation of the goods and often also of the vessel (see prizeprize,
in maritime law, the private property of an enemy that a belligerent captures at sea. For the capture of the vessel or cargo to be lawful it must be made outside neutral waters and by authority of the belligerent.
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). Neutral ships guilty of direct assistance to the enemy may be treated as enemy ships. International law has not precisely defined all classes of goods that are contraband of war per se. Munitions are certainly absolute contraband, but the status of food and other conditional contraband at least indirectly needed for war is often in doubt. At the second (1907) of the Hague ConferencesHague Conferences,
term for the International Peace Conference of 1899 (First Hague Conference) and the Second International Peace Conference of 1907 (Second Hague Conference). Both were called by Russia and met at The Hague, the Netherlands.
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 a vain attempt to define the classes of contraband was made. In World War I many powers at first agreed to abide by the terms of the Declaration of London (see London, Declaration ofLondon, Declaration of,
international code of maritime law, especially as related to war, proposed in 1909. The declaration grew largely out of the attempt at the second of the Hague Conferences to set up an international prize court with compulsory jurisdiction.
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) respecting contraband, but in time unconditional blockadeblockade,
use of naval forces to cut off maritime communication and supply. Blockades may be used to prevent shipping from reaching enemy ports, or they may serve purposes of coercion. The term is rarely applied to land sieges.
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 of all goods was adopted. At the beginning of World War II the belligerents drew up lists of absolute and conditional contraband, but the total absorption of the economy in warfare led to the prohibition, so far as possible, of all shipping to the enemy.


See P. C. Jessup, The Early Development of the Law of Contraband of War (1933).

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a. goods that are prohibited by law from being exported or imported
b. illegally imported or exported goods
2. illegal traffic in such goods; smuggling
3. (during the American Civil War) a Black slave captured by the Union forces or one who escaped to the Union lines
4. of goods
a. forbidden by law from being imported or exported
b. illegally imported or exported
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
He said the police team took action after they noticed a man loading what was believed to be contraband cigarettes into a Perodua Alza mini multi-purpose vehicle.
El Faro de Ceuta reported earlier today that the suspension of these crossings will not affect the crossing of people, tourists, and cars.The government noted in a press release that the contraband activity will be resumed once technicians determine that the border's infrastructure is safe enough for these activities.
The "Contraband Detector Market by Technology (X-ray, Metal Detection, Spectrometry & Spectroscopy), Screening (People, Baggage & Cargo), Deployment (Fixed, Portable), Application (Transportation, Government, Retail), and Region - Global Forecast to 2024" report has been added to's offering.
An ANF (Lahore) spokesperson had confirmed that the PML-N's senior leader was arrested and a case was being filed in accordance with the Control of Narcotics Substances Act, 1997, after a large stash of contraband was recovered from his vehicle.
Kioi said it's a punishable crime for Kenyans to purchase any items from Somalia on the borderline as most of them are contraband.
Upon thorough checking of her bags, fifty-eight (58) polythene pouches kept in brown cardboard packing filled white powdery substance which appeared to be contraband were found concealed in 29-bed sheets.
Barte said the destruction of the seized cigarettes "will also send (smugglers) a strong signal that under my watch, all contraband bound for the city will be apprehended and owners will be jailed if we can identify them."
The contraband represented the team's haul for a year.
Although each agency may define contraband differently, there are four universal constants: contraband can enter an institution through a variety of pathways; is often difficult to detect; fuels the black-market economy within the institution; and ultimately undermines the safety and security of the institution.
Islamabad -- Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) has foiled a bid to smuggle 3,000 contraband drugs at Islamabad Airport.
figure By FADHILI FREDRICK Police in Kwale have impounded 300 bags of suspected contraband sugar at Bodo-Shirazi Beach in Msambweni.The officers accompanied by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) officials intercepted the sugar while it was being offloaded.