The Sources of International Space Law: Revisited
63 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2021
Date Written: March 17, 2021
In order to have a comprehensive understanding of international space law, which is embedded in general international law, it is indispensable to have a clear view of the sources of this legal system. It is a well-established fact that the sources of general international law are widely considered to be articulated under Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice. These are generally relevant for the regulation of outer space, but other ‘non-traditional’ modes of guidance and/or regulation have also been developed in this area. This article examines the provisions of Article 38 in order to discern those traditional and other sources of international law that are applicable to outer space and outer space activities. For the determination of rules of international space law, particular attention is given to the development of customary international space law, State practice, the role of judicial decisions, the teachings of the “most highly qualified publicists” and, more broadly, to so called “soft law”.
Keywords: space law, sources of international law, public international law, custom, international space law, law, outer space, general international law
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