• Home
  • Current congress
  • Public Website
  • My papers
  • root
  • browse
  • IAC-08
  • E8
  • 4
  • paper
  • The importance of the rule of law for space activities

    Paper number



    Prof. Stephan Hobe, University of Cologne, Germany



    Beginning with the rise of the modern sovereign state and particularly in the 20th century the observance of the rule of law for states - later for all subjects of international law - has become increasingly important. It was basically the idea that all subjects of international law should be subject to international law because the law would guarantee that not the economically or militarily superior power would govern, but that all states would be treated equally. The norms of international law are so to say rules for the international power game. Only if states undertake to solve all their conflicts by abstaining from using force and instead observing the rule of law there is a chance for international law to be accepted and for the weaker states to maintain and survive. The observance of the rule of law is thus crucial for the future of the international community as a whole.
    Space law as a branch of international law takes part in the need to closely observe the rule of law. Regrettably we can observe with an increasing speed a decreasing respect for the legal rule. Already the five international space law conventions enjoyed an ever decreasing number of ratifications. Moreover, in more recent times, the space law community even starts to totally abstain from any legally binding rules, but to resort to the soft law of United Nations General Assembly resolutions. The current peek of this development really is that by way of an unbinding UN General Assembly resolution, hard international law of the five space treaties has been interpreted (e.g. UN General Assembly Resolutions on "space benefits", on the "launching state" and on "registration").
    This paper will have a look into the consequences of the decreasing observance of the rule of law for outer space activities, but also for the international community as a whole. It is, as it looks so far, the first attempt to come up with a comprehensive description on the different consequences of the observance of the rule of law. In this context it will be asked which negative consequences the denial of the observance will have for the space law community as well as for the international legal community as a whole.
    Abstract document


    Manuscript document

    IAC-08.E8.4.14.pdf (🔒 authorized access only).

    To get the manuscript, please contact IAF Secretariat.