The Legal Principles Governing the Activities of States

Topic: Law
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Last updated: May 23, 2019

The first important stepstowards formulation of space law was taken in the form of a General AssemblyResolution in 1961 where it was commended to States that international law appliesto outer space and that outer space was free for exploration and from nationalappropriation.

1Thereafter in 1963, the General Assembly adopted the Declaration of LegalPrinciples Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of OuterSpace2which laid the foundation for the Outer Space Treaty,3the magna carta of space law. Evenafterwards, some of the most important documents of space law are in the formof General Assembly resolutions such as the Principles Governing the Use by Statesof Artificial Earth Satellites for International Direct Television Broadcasting4,Principles relating to Remote Sensing of the Earth from Outer Space5,Principles Relevant to the Use of Nuclear Power Sources in Outer Space6,Declaration on International Cooperation in the Exploration and Use of OuterSpace for the Benefit and in the Interest of All States, Taking into ParticularAccount the Needs of Developing Countries7and theGeneral Assembly Resolution endorsing the Space Debris Mitigation Guidelinesdeveloped by the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space “Space DebrisGuidelines”.8In June 2016, the Committeeon the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space “COPUOS” agreed to a first set ofguidelines for the long-term sustainability of outer space activities9 and has been workingtowards forming a full compendium for long term sustainability of outer spaceand refer the same to the General Assembly in 2018. Proposed LTS Guidelines. Thispaper will deal with the relevance of the General Assembly resolutions whichlay down important principles of space law, that are neither treaties nor havereached the stature of customary law. * UpasanaDasgupta is a student of doctoral studies at Faculty of Law and Institute ofAir and Space Law, McGill University.

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Her research interests include publicinternational law and space law.1 International Cooperation in thePeaceful Uses of Outer Space, GA Res 1721 (XVI),UNGAOR, 16th Sess, UN Doc RES 1721 (XVI), (1961) 2 Declaration of Legal Principles Governingthe Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, GA Res1962 (XVIII), UNGAOR, 18th Sess, UN Doc RES 1962 (XVIII) (1963) Declaration of Legal Principles3 Treaty on Principles Governing theActivities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including theMoon and Other Celestial Bodies, 27 January, 1967, 610 UNTS 205 (enteredinto force 10 November, 1967) Outer Space Treaty4 Principles Governing the Use by States ofArtificial Earth Satellites for International Direct Television Broadcasting,GA Res 37/92, UNGAOR, 37th Sess, UN Doc A/RES/37/92 (1982) 5 Principles relating to Remote Sensing of theEarth from Outer Space, GA Res 41/65, UNGAOR, 41st Sess,UN Doc A/RES/41/65 (1986) < http://www.unoosa.org/pdf/gares/ARES_41_65E.pdf>Remote Sensing Principles6 Principles Relevant to the Use of NuclearPower Sources in Outer Space, GA Res 47/68, UNGAOR, 47th Sess,UN Doc A/RES/47/68 (1992) 7 Declaration on International Cooperation inthe Exploration and Use of Outer Space for the Benefit and in the Interest ofAll States, Taking into Particular Account the Needs of Developing Countries,GA Res 51/122, UNGAOR, 51st Sess, UN Doc A/RES/51/122 (1997) < http://www.unoosa.org/pdf/gares/ARES_51_122E.pdf>“Benefits Declaration”8 International cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, GA Res 62/217, UNGAOR, 62nd Sess,UN Doc A/RES/62/217 (2008) < http://www.unoosa.org/pdf/gares/ARES_62_217E.pdf>9 Report of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of OuterSpace,UNGAOR, 71st Sess, Supp No 20, UN Doc A/71/20, Annex (2016),

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