International Institute of Space Law

Article

Analyzing the Legality of Military Use of Resources Extracted from the Moon under the Outer Space Treaty

Authors Tejas Bharadwaj en Harshith Iyer
Author's information

Tejas Bharadwaj
T. Bharadwaj, student, BA. LL.B School of Law, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India.

Harshith Iyer
H. Iyer, Student, B. Com. LL.B School of Law, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India.
  • Abstract

      The Moon contains resources such as Helium-3, Titanium, and Rare Earth Elements, that can potentially be extracted and incorporated into different products.
      The Outer Space treaty provides every state the right to extract and use resources from the Moon, however with limitations under the treaty. Under Article IV para 2 of the treaty, all State parties are mandated to ‘use’ the Moon exclusively for peaceful purposes. However the treaty fails to define the term ‘peaceful’. This ambiguity offers opportunity of such extracted minerals to be used for military purposes, i.e. incorporated into weapons, armours, structures etc. by Space powers in the future. In that case, is military use of these lunar resources permitted under the Outer Space Treaty?
      Thus to analyse the legality this paper will adopt the rules of interpretation under The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties to establish that the term ”peaceful” can only be interpreted as ”Non-Military” and that any interpretation allowing ”Use” of the moon and its resources for military purposes would defeat the object and purpose of the treaty. The paper will also discuss the interpretative evolution of Peace, from Negative Peace i.e. mere absence of war or aggression, to a broader concept of Positive Peace to conclude that military use of resources extracted from the Moon is Non-peaceful and is prohibited under Outer Space Treaty. Finally, the paper will end at a functional approach to tackle the problems posed by the dual use of these Lunar Resources.

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