ANTARCTIC TREATY SUMMIT:
SCIENCE-POLICY INTERACTIONS IN INTERNATIONAL
Washington DC December 2009
Outer Space as International Space,
lessons from Antarctica
Armel Kerrest
Institute of Law of International Spaces and Telecommunications
University of Western Brittany
Introduction
International Spaces
The legal status of Antarctica: from a legal
nightmare to an example of international
governance.
Hypothesis for this presentation: Outer
Space: a good legal framework but a poor
international governance.
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Part I
The legal framework: principles of
Outer Space Law.
The establishment of space law by treaties and
UN General Assembly resolutions during the
cold war.
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Responsibility of States for
activities in outer space
The compromise OST article VI :
“Non governmental entities” activities are not
prohibited in Outer space but…
they are assimilated with States activities
within the notion of “national activities”
The activities of non governmental entities must
be authorised and supervised by a State.
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Liability of Launching States in
case of damage
The 1972 Liability Convention
If damage on Earth: absolute liability
If damage in orbit: fault liability
• linked with the freedom of use of Outer Space
• The liability of a State: the Launching State
• No ceiling either in amount or in time
• No exoneration
• No canalisation of the liability
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Liability of Launching States in
case of damage (2)
The victim may choose an other procedure
to get compensation.
The settlement of dispute mechanism: the
Claims Commission
Problem of damage to the international
environment.
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Non appropriation of
international spaces.
Article II of the OST clearly prohibit any
appropriation:
“Outer space, including the Moon and other
celestial bodies is not subject to national
appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means
of use or occupation or by any other means.”
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Military activities in Outer Space
General obligation of “Peaceful use”, as “non
aggressive use”.
• On the orbit around the Earth: no Weapons of
Mass Destruction.
• On the Moon and other celestial bodies:
“exclusively peaceful use”
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The protection of space
environment.
A text of the sixties: Article IX of the Outer
Space Treaty
• Protection from “harmful contamination of
Outer Space”
• Protection from adverse changes of the
environment of the Earth.
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Part II
The need for international cooperation,
lessons from Antarctica
Regulating activities and protecting space
environment.
Military activities in Outer space.
The Moon and other celestial bodies.
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Regulating activities and protecting
space environment.
• “Space traffic management”
• Mitigation of space debris
• Environment impact assessments.
• A Protocol to the Outer Space Treaty for Outer
Space environment.
• Role of scientists and independent experts
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Military activities in Outer space.
Militarisation and Weaponisation.
• The need of an agreement
• The need of a strong control mechanism
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The Moon and other celestial bodies.
Res communis
• For the use of common space
• For the use goods destroyed by first use
– The Common heritage of Mankind principle
– The only way to have such goods in common
and to be allowed to use/abuse them.
– The 1979 Moon Agreement.
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the Moon and other celestial bodies. (2)
If mining the Moon is decided
• The interest of the Convention on the
Regulation of Antarctic Mineral Resources
activities (CRAMRA) as an example.
– Discussion of a legal regime before it becomes
a necessity
– Taking into consideration the protection of the
environment
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Conclusions
A major problem for our children and grand
children:
Govern the planet, the little home of humanity
with tools which have been created to govern
States.
The Antarctic Treaty System shows that even
from a difficult legal situation,
– good will,
– intervention of scientists and independent experts
– a real pragmatism limiting “national egoisms”
may ease a solution
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[email protected]
http://www.univ-brest.fr/espace
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Space debris, remarks on current legal issues