Journal Article

Legality of the Deployment of Conventional Weapons in Earth Orbit: Balancing Space Law and the Law of Armed Conflict

Michel Bourbonnière and Ricky J. Lee

in European Journal of International Law

Published on behalf of The EJIL

Volume 18, issue 5, pages 873-901
Published in print November 2007 | ISSN: 0938-5428
Published online November 2007 | e-ISSN: 1464-3596 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ejil/chm051
Legality of the Deployment of Conventional Weapons in Earth Orbit: Balancing Space Law and the Law of Armed Conflict

Show Summary Details

Preview

The Bush Administration of the United States recently released a revised National Space Policy. Although the revised National Space Policy can be interpreted as a step towards the weaponization of space, it does not necessarily weaponize space. It nonetheless brings to the forefront important legal issues concerning the basing of conventional weapons in space. The present international law matrix on the issue of space-based weapons is to be found in international space law, principally in the Outer Space Treaty, where certain prohibitions apply to nuclear weapons and to weapons of mass destruction. Space must also be used for the benefit and in the interests of all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic or scientific development. Space objects must be registered in accordance with the Registration Convention. The UN collective security system and the customary right of self-defence govern the use of force or jus ad bellum. The means and methods through which self-defence is exercised are in turn governed by international humanitarian law. Should space be weaponized the basing of these weapons and their use will be subject not only to international space law but also to the UN Charter and to international humanitarian law. The interface between these legal regimes consequently gains in importance, possibly forcing a reinterpretation of certain space treaties along with a correction in state practice.

Journal Article.  15709 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content. subscribe or login to access all content.