Both the Romulans and the Federation have regularly violated the Treaty when it suits them. Starfleet has obviously developed and manufactured cloaking/stealth technology and the Romulans make regular excursions across the Neutral Zone. They obviously aren't declaring all-out war, so what penalties or sanctions have been imposed for violations?

-edit added for clarity-

Has either side ever 'punished' their own people for any violations of the Treaty?

  • 3
    That’s a paddlin’. Commented May 1, 2014 at 21:01
  • I felt that my answer was pretty comprehensive, at least within the bounds of what we see in the shows. Is there anything else you'd like to see before considering an acceptance?
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 20:36

2 Answers 2


Governmental Punishments

Mutually agreed treaties between sovereign powers (for example this one) don't usually have penalties attached unless they've been imposed on one party by another, typically following a military defeat.

Since both the United Federation of Planet and the Romulan Star Empire agreed the 'Treaty of Algeron' in good faith if either party intentionally broke the treaty, it might constitute a justifiable Act of War but that's it.

For the record, the full terms of the Treaty of Algeron have never been codified in any of the trek shows or films (or even the EU books) so all of this is pure guesswork.

Individual Punishments

As regards 'individual' punishments for breaches of the Treaty; Commander Riker and Admiral Pressman were both placed under arrest at the end of the "Pegasus Incident". Apparently Riker and Picard suffered no further punishment for their actions, presumably because Riker claimed to be young and stupid and Picard claimed exigent circumstances.

The TNG Short Story : Orphans reveals that Admiral Pressman was ultimately court-martialed for his actions and dishonourably discharged. He subsequently became a senior member of Section-31.

On the other side of the fence, Commander Tomalak repeatedly violated the Neutral Zone and evidently suffered no punishment by the Romulan Empire.

  • Yes, usually treaties do stipulate or incorporate a "If this, that" clause. 'Cause-effect'. 'Action-reaction'. What I'm looking for is the "that" part of the clause. We don't know what the Treaty 'specifically' said or it's verbiage because we've never been shown it. But we can see any effects or reactions derived from violations that would give us the answer.
    – Morgan
    Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 22:47
  • 2
    @Morgan No, treaties do not typically have such clauses. Look at the example Richard provided in his answer, or any of the dozens upon dozens of treaty texts you can look up and read in full -- overwhelmingly they do not have penalties, just lists of "do this, don't do that" etc. Treaty violations are considered within judicial and/or executive contexts of the party wronged, or of a "world court"-type body (although none seems to exist in Trek), and as Richard says in his answer can be seen as an act of aggression/war -- which is exactly how they're treated in the show. That's your answer.
    – Kromey
    Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 23:46
  • 2
    @Morgan - The Romulans seem pretty confident they can use the treaty as an excuse to hold the Enterprise hostage and kidnap the crew. Neither side seems to want an actual fight though...
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 23:56
  • 2
    @Morgan - That's precisely how treaties between superpowers work.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 0:19
  • 3
    @Morgan: Richard is right. I used to work for DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) here in Australia. We caught other countries breaking treaties with us all the time (no, none of you can have details) and we did a whole lot of nothing in response. As I said, the violation has to be both serious and public; Australia was forced to grovel to Indonesia after our current mental midget of a Prime Minister ordered several of our ships across the Indon border, then stupidly let it slip in a press conference. Between superpowers, the rules are even less binding. Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 1:13

Apparently both Admiral Pressman and Commander Riker had been arrested, thrown in the brig and charged with 'violating the Treaty of Algeron'. Riker was subsequently set free by Picard but there is no further word about what happened to Pressman. Obviously, violation of the Treaty does carry some sort of legal punishment.

Here's some of the backstory concerning the Pegasus Saga:

The phasing cloaking device was developed by a secret group in Starfleet Security in the 2350s. An expansion on the more traditional cloaking device, it was designed to phase sequence the structure of matter and energy to such a rate that it was possible to allow any vessel utilizing the device to pass through normal matter in the phased state. A direct violation of the Treaty of Algeron, which banned cloaking technology aboard Federation starships, the phasing cloak was first tested aboard the USS Pegasus in 2358, under the command of Captain Erik Pressman.

A Judge Advocate General's investigation into the mutiny aboard the Pegasus was initiated, but, in order to conceal the illegal test, Starfleet Intelligence classified the file. In 2370 Pressman, now an admiral at Starfleet Intelligence, boarded the USS Enterprise-D and mounted a mission to retrieve the phasing cloak.

Deciding not to continue to aid Pressman in the illegal activity, Riker revealed the existence of the cloaking device to Captain Picard.

After some adventures extracting themselves from the asteroid both Admiral Pressman and Commander Riker were subsequently taken into custody for their respective roles in the illegal experiment. Picard orders Pressman be arrested, and charged with violating the Treaty of Algeron. Riker points out that he too will have to be arrested, and Picard reluctantly agrees. Pressman notes angrily that he has a lot of friends at Starfleet Command – Picard quietly muses to himself that he will need them. (ENT: "These Are the Voyages..."; TNG: "The Pegasus")

  • 1
    They're being punished by the UFP themselves, not the same thing
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 6:03
  • @Richard Are you splitting hairs now big dog? Being punished for violating the Treaty, no matter by whom, is still being punished for violating the Treaty is it not?
    – Morgan
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 6:36
  • 2
    They're being punished not for violating the treaty but for disobeying a standing order; e.g. that Starfleet don't make political policy. That's not what the OP was asking. He was wanting to know if the UFP/Romulans suffered punishment for their repeated breaches.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 7:29
  • @Richard: Morgan is the OP. You're not wrong though. Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 9:23
  • @JamesSheridan - oops.I didn't spot that :-)
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 9:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.