International Institute of Space Law

Article

The Subjects of International Space Law

Authors Kuan-Wei Chen, Ram Jakhu en Steven Freeland
Author's information

Kuan-Wei Chen
K.W. Chen, Centre for Research in Air and Space Law, McGill University, Canada.

Ram Jakhu
R. Jakhu, Institute of Air and Space Law, McGill University, Canada.

Steven Freeland
S. Freeland, Western Sydney University, Australia.
  • Abstract

      Entities enjoying international legal personality are generally regarded as the “subjects” of general international law and international space law and are considered to possess rights and obligations under international law. While States have historically been recognised as the principal subjects of international law, non-State actors, such as international organisations, non-governmental entities, multinational corporations, and (arguably) individuals, are increasingly empowered with rights and subjected to obligations on the international plane. International space law, although embedded in general international law, contains unique principles and rules that are in some cases different from those of general international law. With the changing nature of activities due to technological developments, and the proliferation of actors in the space domain, it is necessary to critically examine the issues as to what are considered the subjects of international space law. This question is important both from the doctrinal perspective, and as a matter of practical relevance, as space activities are increasingly being undertaken by non-State actors under the jurisdiction and control of, or having a nexus with, several States.

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