CAPTOR - One who has talken property from an enemy; this term is also employed to designate one who has taken an enemy.
Formerly, goods taken in war were adjudged to belong to the captor; they are now considered to vest primarily in the state or sovereign, and belong to the individual captors only to the extent that the municipal laws provide.
Captors are responsible to the owners of the property for all losses and damages when the capture is tortious and without reasonable cause in the exercise of belligerent rights. But if the capture is originally justifiable the captors will not be responsible, unless by subsequent misconduct they become trespassers ab initio.
CAPTURE - The taking of property by one belligerent from another.
To make a good capture of a ship, it must be subdued and taken by an enemy in open war, or by way of reprisals, or by a pirate, and with intent to deprive the owner of it.
Capture may be with intent to possess both ship and cargo or only to seize the goods of the enemy, or contraband goods which are on board: The former is the capture of the ship in the proper sense of the word; the latter is only an arrest and detention witbout any design to deprive the owner of it. Capture is deemed lawful when made by a declared enemy, lawfully commissioned and according to the laws of war; and unlawful when it is against the rules established by the law of nations.
This entry contains material from Bouvier's Legal Dictionary, a work published in the 1850's.
Courtesy of the 'Lectric Law Library