The International Legal Implications of Military Space Operations: Examining the Interplay between International Humanitarian Law and the Outer Space Legal Regime   [open pdf - 699KB]

"[...] this article will examine applicable legal theory with reference to the interaction of the law of outer space and IHL [International Humanitarian Law] in the context of armed conflict occurring from, to, or through outer space. It will canvass questions of interpretive vertical hierarchy and horizontal priority and examine the International Law Commission's (ILC) recent work on the effects of armed conflict on treaties, as well as the separate ILC review of the impact of subsequent State practice on treaty interpretation. This examination will lead to the conclusion that while the outer space legal regime does continue to apply in a time of armed conflict and does directly apply to regulate specific conduct occurring during armed conflict; it nonetheless is subject to general legal rules that prioritize the right of self-defense, as well as IHL. The article concludes that the mechanical application of prevailing treaty interpretive maxims does not easily settle issues of potential legal conflict between the outer space legal regime and IHL. As such, different interpretive approaches need to be developed on a case-by-case basis to ensure effective harmonization. In circumstances where harmonization is not possible, a stark policy choice will be required to select which regime will apply and in what manner."

Report Number:
International Law Studies (2018), v.94
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
U.S. Naval War College, Stockton Center for the Study of International Law: http://stockton.usnwc.edu/
Media Type:
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