International Space Law Group

International Space Law Group

The International Space Law (ISL) Group focuses on military uses of space in a global security context that is relatively benign.

The ISL Group is led by Group Editors Professor Ram Jakhu (McGill University) and Professor Steven Freeland (Western Sydney University), and supported by Research Coordinator Dr. Md. Tanveer Ahmad (McGill University).

The Core Experts in the ISL Group (in alphabetical order):

  • Prof. Setsuko Aoki (Keoi University)
  • Mr. Ulf Haeussler (Federal Ministry of Defense of the Federal Republic of Germany)
  • Ms. Deborah Housen-Couriel (Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center at Tel Aviv University and Haifa University’s Law Faculty)
  • Mr. Peter Hulsroj (Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization)
  • Dr. Philip de Man (Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies)
  • Ms. Elina Morozova (INTERSPUTNIK)
  • Dr. Jinyuan Su (Xi'an Jiatong University)
  • Maj. Patrick Vermette (Canadian Forces)
  • Prof. Melissa de Zwart (University of Adelaide)


ISL Group Editors


Ram Jakhu

Dr. Ram Jakhu holds a tenured position of Associate Professor at the Institute of Air and Space Law, Faculty of Law, McGill University. He is also the Director of the Institute of Air and Space Law and of the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law of McGill University. He teaches and conducts research in international space law, law of space applications, law of space commercialization, space safety and security, national regulation of space activities, law of telecommunications, and public international law.

He has taught Space Law and Policy in several countries; made presentations to the United Nations Committee of Peaceful Uses of Outer Space; participated in the drafting of Space Law Curriculum for the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs; advised several countries in the preparation of national laws and policies, including National Space Law and Policy for South Africa and India; convened and participated numerous international interdisciplinary space law and policy related conferences and workshops around the world; and currently heads a multi-million dollars research and outreach program for space law and policy.

Professor Jakhu is a Member of the Global Agenda Council on Space of the World Economic Forum; the Governance Group of the Space Security Index; and Fellow as well as the Chairman of the Legal and Regulatory Committee of the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety. He is Managing Editor of the Space Regulatory Series, member of the Editorial Boards of Space and Evolution, Annals of Air & Space Law, Astropolitics, and German Journal of Air & Space Law. He has co-authored two books, over 80 articles and 20 research reports and edited 6 books.

He was member of the Advisor Group of Legal Experts on Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes Relating to Outer Space within the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and the Board of Directors of International Institute of Space Law for 14 years. In 2007, he received a "Distinguished Service Award" from the International Institute of Space Law for significant contribution to the development of space law.

Ram Jakhu holds Doctor of Civil Law (Dean's Honors List) and Master of Law (LL.M.) degrees from McGill University, Canada as well as LL.M., LL.B., and B.A. degrees from Panjab University, India.

Steven Freeland

Steven Freeland is Professor of International Law at Western Sydney University, where he teaches both postgraduate and undergraduate students, and supervises PhD students, in the fields of International Criminal Law, Commercial Aspects of Space Law, Public International Law and Human Rights Law.

He is a Visiting Professor at the University of Vienna, Permanent Visiting Professor of the iCourts Centre of Excellence for International Courts, Denmark, a Member of Faculty of the London Institute of Space Policy and Law, and was a Marie Curie Fellow in 2013-2014. He has been an Expert Assessor of Research Proposals to the Australian Research Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, the National Research Foundation of South Africa, and the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong, and has taught courses at Universities in The Netherlands, Austria, Belarus, China, Italy, Germany, Bulgaria, Estonia, Slovakia, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Denmark, United States, Australia, Turkey, France and Singapore.

He has also been a Visiting Professional within the Appeals Chamber at the International Criminal Court (ICC), and a Special Advisor to the Danish Foreign Ministry in matters related to the ICC. Among other appointments, he is a Director of the Paris-based International Institute of Space Law, a member of the Space Law Committee of the London-based International Law Association, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research.

Steven Freeland sits on the Editorial Board of a number of international journals, including the Australian Journal of Human Rights, the Australian International Law Journal, the Annals of Air and Space Law, the German Journal of Air and Space Law / Zeitschrift fur Luft- und Weltraumrecht and the Space Law Review, and on the Advisory Board of the Asian Journal of Air and Space Law and the Journal of Philosophy of International Law, as well as a series of books entitled Studies in Space Law. He is also Co-Editor of Annotated Leading Cases of the International Criminal Tribunals, a long-established series of casebooks annotating the jurisprudence of the ICC, the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the Special Panels for Serious Crimes in East Timor.

He has authored approximately 300 publications on various aspects of International Law and has been invited to present over 700 expert commentaries by national and international media outlets worldwide on a wide range of legal and geopolitical issues. He is also a frequent speaker at national and international conferences.

Core Experts

Setsuko Aoki

Setsuko Aoki is Professor of Law, Keio University Law School, Japan (since April 2016). She had been Professor of Law (2004-2016) and Associate Professor of Law (1999-2004), Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University; Associate Professor (1995-1999) and Assistant Professor (1994-1995), School of Social Science, National Defense Academy of Japan; Assistant, Faculty of Law, Rikkyo University, Japan (1991-1993). She completed her doctoral course in the Institute of Air and Space Law, Faculty of Law, McGill University, Canada, and obtained Doctor of Civil Law (D.C.L.) in June 1993. She studied Graduate School of Law, Keio University, Japan (LL.M., March, 1985) and Faculty of Law, Keio University, Japan (B.C.L., March, 1983). She has been a member of the Committee on National Space Policy (Cabinet Office) since July 2012 and legal advisor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Japan to the Legal Subcommittee of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) since March 2002. She belongs to the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) (board member), International Law Association (ILA) (Space Law Committee), International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), American Society of International Law, etc.

Ulf Haeussler

Ulf Haeussler is currently a Counselor for European Union Law in the Federal Ministry of Defense of the Federal Republic of Germany (MOD Germany).  His previous assignments include Counselor for Legal Aspects of Security and Defense Policy in MOD Germany, Senior Fellow at National Defense University (Washington, D.C., USA), Assistant Legal Advisor at Headquarters, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, several legal positions in the German Armed Forces, and periods as a research fellow in international law at the Universities of Würzburg and Konstanz, Germany.  Ulf's exposure to space law entails the development of legal advice to legislative drafting processes as well as policy decision making both at domestic and European Union level, space related matters of multilateral politico-military cooperation, and various legal aspects of space support to military operations (including litigation). Ulf completed his legal education in Germany (First State Examination: Regensburg University, Second State Examination from: Ministry of Justice of the Free State of Bavaria); he successfully completed the 126th Senior Course at the NATO Defense College (Rome, Italy).  He is also a member of the International Law Association's Committee on Nuclear weapons, non proliferation & contemporary international law, the Board of Directors of the International Society for Military Law and Law of War, and the Editorial Board, The Military Law and The Law of War Review.


Deborah Housen-Couriel

Deborah is a senior research fellow at the Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center at Tel Aviv University, the Herzliya Institute for Counter-Terrorism, and the Minerva Center at Haifa University’s Law Faculty. She teaches courses on cybersecurity law and regulation at the former two, with a focus on the interaction among public international law, domestic legal systems and contemporary technological developments in cyberspace.

A member of the Israeli bar, she has an independent legal practice specializing in Israeli and global cybersecurity law, also serving as Special Counsel to the New York law firm Zeichner, Ellman and Krause. Deborah is currently serving on the Advisory Board for the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise. She was a member of the International Group of Experts that drafted the Tallin 2 manual on state activity in cyberspace; and of the ILA’s Study Group on Cybersecurity, Terrorism and International Law. In 2010-11, she co-chaired the National Cyber Initiative’s Policy and Regulation Committee, under the aegis of the Prime Minister’s Office; and served as a member of Israel’s National Cyber Bureau’s public committee on the cyber professions.

Between 2007-2014, Deborah was Director of the Wexner Foundation's Israel Fellowship Program, which develops public leadership at the highest levels in Israel and the US together with the Harvard Kennedy School. Prior to these positions, Deborah was Director of the Department of Regulation and International Treaties and served in the Director-General’s Bureau of the Israeli Ministry of Communications (1994-2005). While at the Ministry she served on delegations to the WTO, the ITU, the Oslo Accords negotiations, and those for the peace treaty with Jordan. She received her B.A. in History and Anthropology summa cum laude from Wellesley College and the Ècole de Sciences Politiques in Paris; her LL.B. and LL.M (cum laude) from Hebrew University; and an MC-MPA from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government as a Wexner Foundation Fellow in 2000-2001.

Peter Hulsroj

Peter Hulsroj is currently working as a senior legal consultant at the Provisional Technical Secretariat of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBTO). Before this Peter was the Director of the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) in Vienna, Austria, following-on from an assignment as the Director of Legal Affairs and External Relations of the European Space Agency, ESA.  Peter has also been a practising attorney in Copenhagen, a contracts officer at ESA in the Netherlands, and the Chief of Legal Affairs of CTBTO. He was educated at the University of Copenhagen and Harvard Law School.

Peter has written a number of articles on international human rights, public international law, international governance, space and space law, and is the author of two books, one in the social science domain, The Principle of Proportionality, and another on philosophy and ethics, What If We Don't Die? The Morality of Immortality. Peter furthermore writes a blog on social and philosophical issues, and was during his ESPI time the  author of a blog on space policy.

Philip de Man

Philip De Man is currently working as a postdoctoral fellow funded by the Research Foundation - Flanders with the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies in Leuven, Belgium. He received his PhD in international space law in 2015 and has since continued his work on the interplay between international, regional and national levels of space law-making. Philip is a senior researcher and lecturer in international and European space law at the University of Leuven’s Advanced Master of Science in Space Studies. In addition, Philip is an expert adviser to the Belgian delegation at the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. His previous positions include that of legal adviser and case manager at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and adviser to the Permanent Mission of Belgium to the United Nations in New York for the UNGA second committee.

Further, Philip De Man is the Flemish representative for YouSpace, a Belgian initiative bringing together students and young professionals with an interest in outer space with people working in space industry, institutions and academia. His broad range of interests in the legal field are reflected in publications on a wide variety of topics, ranging from space law and international humanitarian law through global governance and the law of international organisations to foreign direct investment and international criminal law. Among his most recent publications is the monograph ‘Exclusive use in an inclusive environment: the meaning of the non-appropriation principle for space resource exploitation’ as part of the Springer Space Regulations Library.

Elina Morozova

Elina Morozova is Head of the International and Legal Service at the Intersputnik International Organization of Space Communications (intergovernmental satellite telecommunication organization headquartered in Moscow, Russia). Before joining Intersputnik in 2005, she was working at the legal department of a major Russian telecommunications company. Specializing in the field of international space and telecommunications law, she focuses on issues related to the use of the radio frequency spectrum and satellite orbits, operation of geostationary and non-geostationary satellites, provision of access to the satellite capacity and satellite telecommunications services. Elina Morozova earned two university degrees in international law and world economy from the All-Russian Academy of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of the Russian Federation and holds an LL.M in International Business Law from the University of Manchester. She is a member of the Russian Association of International Law, heads the working group for the revision of the regulatory instruments of the Regional Commonwealth in the Field of Communications (RCC) and serves as Director on the Board of the International Institute of Space Law (IISL).  


Jinyuan Su

Jinyuan Su is currently a Professor at Xi’an Jiaotong University School of Law, China. His research interests lie in outer space law, the law of the sea, and international aviation law. Dr. Su holds a PhD in International Law from Xi’an Jiaotong University. He was an Erin J.C. Arsenault Fellow (2014-2015) at the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law, a visiting research fellow (2009-2010) at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge, and a visiting scholar (2008-2009) at School of Law, King’s College London. Dr. Su is a member of Governance Group of the Space Security Index (SSI), a lead drafter for the McGill project of Global Space Governance, and a member (2016-2018) of the Global Future Council on Space Technologies of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Patrick Vermette

Major Patrick Vermette is the Deputy Director of the Canadian Forces Military Law Centre located in Kingston, Canada. Maj Vermette joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1997 as a pilot. He earned his military pilot wings in 1999.  He was assigned a position of line pilot and obtained the qualification of C130 Hercules Aircraft Commander for strategic airlift and search and rescue operational flying missions.  Upon returning from a tour of duty in the USA in 2003, he continued flying with his unit and was appointed Unit Flight Safety Officer.

In 2005, Maj Vermette was selected to serve as Aide de Camp to the Governor General of Canada. In 2007, he was selected to join the Military Legal Training Plan.  He completed his legal education at the University of Ottawa with an option in international law.  Once admitted to the legal profession in Ontario in 2010, he joined the Office of the Judge Advocate General.  He first served as a legal advisor within the Military Justice Strategic Review Team mandated to support legislative reforms.  In 2011, he joined the Military Justice Strategic Directorate as a legal advisor on matters of legislative and regulatory reforms, as well as in support of the Second Independent Review of the military justice system.

In 2012, Maj Vermette was assigned to the position of Deputy Judge Advocate in Germany where he advised on matters of Canadian military law and international law.  He also held the position of Canadian Head of Mission within the Sending States Forces Forum in Germany.  In 2015, he deployed to the Middle East on a tour of duty to serve as legal advisor within a coalition air and space operations centre.

Maj Vermette holds a Master of Laws (LL.M. - Air and Space Law) from Leiden University Law School, a Bachelor of Social Sciences with concentrations in Political Science and Sociology (Magna Cum Laude) and a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) (Cum Laude) from the University of Ottawa, and a civilian commercial pilot licence.

Melissa de Zwart

Professor Melissa de Zwart has a keen interest in the intersection between law and technology. Prior to joining academia, she was the Manager, Corporate Legal Services, CSIRO, where she advised on protection and commercialisation of cutting edge technology. Her areas of research focus primarily on innovative technologies and the digital domain. She has published widely on internet content regulation, copyright, social media, virtual worlds, surveillance and outer space. Melissa is frequently asked to advise on social media and technology issues to judges, the media, schools and government. In 2015 she was the Team Leader of the AdelaideX Cyberwar, Surveillance and Security MOOC which has attracted over 32,000 students globally. From 2017, she will be Dean, Adelaide Law School. Melissa holds a B.A. (Hons), LL.B. (Hons), and LL.M. from the University of Melbourne, a Ph.D from Monash University, as well as a Grad. Cert. Higher Education (Monash) and Grad. Cert Higher Education (Online Learning) (University of Adelaide).

ISL Research Support Team

Research Coordinator:
Md. Tanveer Ahmad

Dr. Md. Tanveer Ahmad is currently an Erin J C Arsenault Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Air and Space Law at McGill University, and the Executive Director of the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law. He has earned his Doctor of Civil Law (DCL) and Master of Laws (LLM) degrees from the Institute of Air & Space Law, McGill University in 2016 and 2010, respectively. While pursuing his doctoral studies, he held the prestigious Assad Kotaite Fellowship of the International Civil Aviation Organization, UN, and the Boeing Fellowship in Air & Space Law. He obtained his Bachelor of Laws (LLB)(Honors) degree from the University of London, UK, in 2006. He has authored a book on climate change governance in international civil aviation, been published in various peer-reviewed law journals, written book chapters, book review, policy papers and working papers, edited working paper series, presented papers in various conferences, and assisted with the editing of the Space Monograph Series I, II & III, and the Routledge Handbook of Space Law. Prior to joining North South University, Dr. Ahmad coached McGill University Air Law Moot team twice, was a Research Assistant at the Faculty of Law, McGill University, and served as a Lecturer at BRAC University School of Law and was Assistant Professor at the Department of Law, North South University, Bangladesh. He is also the Editor of the Annals of Air and Space Law, published by the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law.
















*Please note that all the Experts are participating in their personal capacities and do not represent the organisation, institution or State they are associated with.