Research

The proposed Manual will fill the legal lacunae with respects to issues that for decades have been the source of debate and disagreement among policy makers, legal practitioners, military strategists, and other academics and experts in the field.

By assembling teams of experts specialised in space law, in legality of the use of force, and the law of armed conflict, the MILAMOS Project will identify and distil the lex lata with respect to the means and extent to which States can legitimately use outer space for military activities, including the conduct of hostilities and in periods of tension, short of armed conflict. 

The proposed time-frame for the project is approximately three years, beginning with the First Plenary of Experts to take place in Montreal in October 2016.

Specialised groups will meet and identify rules applicable to specific circumstances in the space domain. Individual experts will be tasked with drafting and discussing rules at meetings of the experts held at regular intervals (approximately every 13 weeks). Discussions on the origins, scope and possible sources of disagreement of each rule will be detailed in the associated commentary to be included in the Manual alongside each rule.

To ensure seamless synergy between different areas of law applicable to military activities in outer space, rule-drafting will take place in incremental stages:

Stage I: Law applicable in times of peace, including in times of rising tension

  • Part A - focusing on military uses of space in a global security context that is relatively benign.
  • Part B - focusing on military uses of space in periods of tension and the legal characterisation of coercive or overtly hostile activities (use of force, jus ad bellum).

If considered necessary,

Stage II: Law applicable in times of armed conflict, focusing on military uses of space in the context of armed conflict (international humanitarian law, jus in bello).

To facilitate the transparency and openness of the MILAMOS Process, the various rules that are under consideration in each stage are listed below.

Under Stage I(A), rules that are being worked on include:

  • Delimitation
  • Applicability of International Law
  • Harmful Interference under Article IX of the Outer Space Treaty
  • Responsibility for National Space Activities
  • Peaceful Purposes
  • Use of Electromagnetic Spectrum
  • Responsibility for Space Activities of International Organisations
  • Non-appropriation
  • Weaponisation
  • National Registration
  • Launching States
  • Applicability of Space Treaties during Armed Conflict
  • Liability
  • Freedom of Use
  • Application of Domestic Laws
  • Space Objects
  • Astronauts and Space-related Persons
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Launch and Ballistic Missiles
  • UN Registration
  • Jurisdiction and Control
  • Cooperation, Mutual Assistance and Due Regard
  • Prior Consultation
  • Duty to Provide Information
  • Rescue and Return
  • Protection of the Natural Environment
  • Harmful Contamination
  • Status of Astronauts
  • Freedom of Transit
  • Military Manoeuvers, Military Bases and Military Installations
  • Damage
  • Ground Infrastructure
  • Property Rights
  • Space Operations
  • Technical Means of Verification
  • Orbital Rights
  • National Space Activities
  • Applicability of International Law to International Organisations

 

Under Stage I(B), rules that will be worked on include:

  • Harmful Interference and Intervention
  • Prohibition of Threat or Use of Force
    • Threat of Use of Force
    • Use of Force
    • Use of Force less than Armed Attack
    • Countermeasures
  • Right of Self-Defence Against Armed Attack
  • Security Council Resolutions/Collective Security
  • Humanitarian Intervention/R2P
  • Noncombatant Evacuations
  • Non-state Actors
  • Aggression

 

As the Project develops, a database containing relevant international and national documents will be set up and serve as a focal point for research on the law of  military uses of outer space.