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7 th ESPI Autumn Conference Space in a Changing World Vienna 11-12 September 2013 Steven Freeland Professor of International Law, University of Western.

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Presentation on theme: "7 th ESPI Autumn Conference Space in a Changing World Vienna 11-12 September 2013 Steven Freeland Professor of International Law, University of Western."— Presentation transcript:

1 7 th ESPI Autumn Conference Space in a Changing World Vienna September 2013 Steven Freeland Professor of International Law, University of Western Sydney Marie Curie Visiting Professor, iCourts Centre of Excellence for International Courts, Denmark Visiting Professor, University of Vienna 7 th ESPI Autumn Conference Space in a Changing World Vienna September 2013 Space, Technology and Warfare: Applying the Laws of Armed Conflict to a Changing World Steven Freeland Professor of International Law, University of Western Sydney Marie Curie Visiting Professor, iCourts Centre of Excellence for International Courts, Denmark Visiting Professor, University of Vienna

2 Technological Challenges for the Humanitarian Legal Framework International Law and technology IHL – embedded into International Law – means and methods of warfare IHL – applies to novel types of weaponry and new technological developments but…… is (usually) one war late How to react in law to technological challenges on the battlefield? What constitutes the battlefield? Are we (should we be) applying 20 th Century laws to 21 st Century technology? Are the IHL laws applicable? relevant? appropriate? sufficient? clear? What shapes what?

3 Technological Challenges to IHL include…. cyber technology remote-controlled weapons systems technology robotics technology space technology others?

4 Opportunities and Risks Potential to minimize casualties Greater selectivity => an obligation to use? non-lethal / less-lethal means of warfare but…… Increasing trend to long distance warfare => a disconnect Its too easy More attacks? A lower threshold? Increased destructive capabilities More likely to render death inevitable Moral and ethical challenges – moral disengagement Legal uncertainties

5 Outer Space Treaty – Principles Relevant to Military Uses Freedom to explore and use / free access for allFreedom to explore and use / free access for all province of mankind / common heritage of mankindprovince of mankind / common heritage of mankind No appropriation / claims of sovereigntyNo appropriation / claims of sovereignty International law applies (including UN Charter)International law applies (including UN Charter) Interests of maintaining international peace and securityInterests of maintaining international peace and security No nuclear weapons / weapons of mass destructionNo nuclear weapons / weapons of mass destruction Peaceful PurposesPeaceful Purposes State responsibility / liability for national activities in outer spaceState responsibility / liability for national activities in outer space International cooperation / keeping UN informedInternational cooperation / keeping UN informed

6 Military Uses of Outer Space – a reality Peaceful Purposes Peaceful Purposes –Non-military v non-aggressive a redundant argument? a redundant argument? Operation Desert Storm – the first Space War Operation Desert Storm – the first Space War Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya etc Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya etc Military satellites / space assets – an integrated battle platform Military satellites / space assets – an integrated battle platform Commercial satellites Commercial satellites –dual use satellites Communications Communications GPS technology GPS technology Remote sensing Remote sensing Weapons systems Weapons systems Earth => Space - missile defence shield / ballistic missiles / ASATS Earth => Space - missile defence shield / ballistic missiles / ASATS Space => Space Space => Space Space => Earth Space => Earth Fourth Territory? Fourth Territory?

7 Space Security – International / National Policy Activities of the Major Space Faring States Activities of the Major Space Faring States –A Space Pearl Harbour A Space Arms Race? – UNGA Resolutions A Space Arms Race? – UNGA Resolutions –the weaponisation of space? Draft 2008 Treaty to Prevent Weapons Draft 2008 Treaty to Prevent Weapons TCBMs – Draft International Code of Conduct TCBMs – Draft International Code of Conduct

8 A Hypothetical? – An Application of IHL Principles International law applies in outer space International law applies in outer space No territorial limitation to jus in bello No territorial limitation to jus in bello –IHL Principles apply in combat zone in combat zone where acts cause (direct) effects? where acts cause (direct) effects? Outer Space used for Outer Space used for –passive military activities –as an active theatre of warfare?

9 Application of IHL Principles Principles of Principles of –Distinction –Military Objective –Proportionality appropriate for actions in outer space? appropriate for actions in outer space? Can a satellite be a legitimate target of war? Can a satellite be a legitimate target of war? –military satellites –dual-use satellites Effects? Effects? –communities / States / regions etc reliant on satellite technology

10 Concluding Comments Space technology already used to conduct armed conflict Space technology already used to conduct armed conflict Increasing likelihood that space may become a theatre of war Increasing likelihood that space may become a theatre of war Legal status of satellites – legitimate military target? Legal status of satellites – legitimate military target? How to apply / adapt the jus in bello? How to apply / adapt the jus in bello? Need for specific standards Need for specific standards –Definitions – space / peaceful purposes / military uses Need to adhere to the collective humanity principles of space law and IHL Need to adhere to the collective humanity principles of space law and IHL


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