Legal regulation of the military use of outer space : what role for international humanitarian law ?
Host item entries:
Collegium, No. 41, Automne 2011, p. 87-97
Outer space is now increasingly being used as part of the ‘active’ conduct of armed conflict. Principles of international humanitarian law are, in theory, applicable to the military use of outer space. Given the unique nature of outer space, the principles of international humanitarian law – developed to regulate terrestrial warfare and armed conflict – are probably neither sufficiently specific nor entirely appropriate for military action in outer space. The non-military uses of space have become vital aspects of any community’s survival and many of the satellites providing these civilian services are dual-use, in that they are also utilised for military and strategic purposes. This raises difficult questions about the ‘status’ of such assets under the rules of war – particularly as to whether they may, under certain circumstances, be regarded as legitimate military objectives.
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