Conflicts in Space: International Humanitarian Law and its Application to Space Warfare

U. of Adelaide Law Research Paper No. 2016-13

Annals of Air and Space Law, 2015 Vol XL, 71-104

Posted: 21 Apr 2016

See all articles by Dale Stephens

Dale Stephens

Adelaide Research Unit on Military Law and Ethics (RUMLAE)

Cassandra Steer

The Australian National University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 01, 2015

Abstract

This article discusses the ways in which International Humanitarian Law (IHL) applies to the domain of outer space. IHL is applicable as a matter of international law, yet outer space poses some challenges when it comes to specific principles and rules. A brief outline is given of some of the kinds of weapons that have been and might be used in space, as well as the ways in which space assets are used with respect to conflicts on Earth. This is followed by an in-depth analysis of the core principles of IHL and how they apply: the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution in attack. While it is imperative that States recognise that IHL is applicable to all their activities in space that involve conflicts on Earth and/or in space, care must be taken in weighing up the traditional principles and their application to this new domain. As the technology that increases war-fighting capability advances, so does the imperative to understand the applicable legal framework for the use of such technology.

Keywords: space law, International Humanitarian Law, IHL, public international law, space warfare

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Stephens, Dale and Steer, Cassandra, Conflicts in Space: International Humanitarian Law and its Application to Space Warfare (December 01, 2015). U. of Adelaide Law Research Paper No. 2016-13, Annals of Air and Space Law, 2015 Vol XL, 71-104, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2767980

Dale Stephens (Contact Author)

Adelaide Research Unit on Military Law and Ethics (RUMLAE) ( email )

SA 5005
Australia
+61 (0)8 8313 5937 (Phone)

Cassandra Steer

The Australian National University ( email )

Australia

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
594
PlumX Metrics