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The Laws of War in Outer Space

  • Steven FreelandEmail author
  • Elise GruttnerEmail author
Living reference work entry

Abstract

With the development of technology accelerating at a rapid pace, there has not been a more crucial time to analyze the international legal framework of outer space. The use of outer space for armed conflict is now a reality for space-faring nations and, as such, attention needs to be placed on the legal implications of this modern (potential) theatre of warfare. The applicability of international law to outer space was confirmed in the United Nations Outer Space Treaty that applies to the use and exploration of outer space. With new technologies such as dual-use satellites emerging, complex international law issues relating to the use of force and understanding how and to what extent the international law principles of jus in bello – international humanitarian law – apply to the regulation of these outer space activities. This chapter examines the evolution of outer space technology and the relevant legal frameworks that exist, and looks at certain aspects of the jus in bello principles that relate to the use of outer space. Some legal principles that exist in international humanitarian law may apply to activities in outer space; however, it remains unclear whether these principles are specific enough to take into account the increasingly diverse ways in which outer space could be utilized during the course of armed conflict. Consequently, there is a growing need for clarity in this evolving field of law, particularly as it relates to armed conflict in outer space.

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Further Reading

  1. See Lyall F, Larsen PB (2009) Space law: a treatise. Ashgate, Farnham, pp 3–9 for a summary of the main academic theories relating to ‘space law’ in the period prior to the launch of Sputnik IGoogle Scholar
  2. See United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1472 (XIV) on International Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (12 December 1959). UNCOPUOS currently has 87 Members, which, according to its website, means that it is ‘one of the largest Committees in the United Nations.’ For more see http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/members/index.html. Last accessed 18 Feb 2019

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Western SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge TrialsNew YorkUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Peter L. Hays
    • 1
  1. 1.Space Policy InstituteGeorge Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA

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