The Final Frontier: The Laws of Armed Conflict and Space Warfare
40 Pages Posted: 1 Jan 2008
This article focuses on the application of the current laws of war to the emerging phenomenon of space weaponization and the increasing likelihood in the next few decades of space becoming a battleground. This predicament requires new ways of thinking and legal regulation, considering that the existing principles of the Laws of Armed Conflict (LOAC) are primarily focused on air, land and terrestrial warfare. This article addresses the special problems arising from applying the LOAC to space warfare. It will also analyze the significant problems posed by space assets dedicated to uses of both a civilian and military nature - the concept of the dual-use satellite - as well as legal problems raised by the possible military activities of astronaut combatants, in light of the particular status conferred on all astronauts under current international space law principles.
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