Draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force Against Outer Space Objects

February 20, 2008 at 10:23 am | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount and the blog faculty
The text of the draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force Against Outer Space Objects being submitted by the Russian Federation and China at the UN Conference on Disarmament can be found through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

Treaty Text:

Treaty on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space, the threat or use of force against outer space objects

13-02-2008

The States Parties to this Treaty,

Reaffirming that outer space plays an ever-increasing role in the future development of humankind,

Emphasizing the rights to explore and use outer space freely for peaceful purposes,

Interested in keeping outer space from turning into an arena for military confrontation, in assuring security in outer space and safe functioning of space objects,

Recognizing that prevention of the placement of weapons and of an arms race in outer space would avert a grave danger for international peace and security,

Desiring to keep outer space as a sphere where no weapon of any kind is placed,

Noting that the existing agreements on arms control and disarmament relevant to outer space, including the bilateral ones, and the existing legal regimes concerning the use of outer space play a positive role in exploration of outer space and in regulating outer space activities, and should be strictly complied with; although they are unable to effectively prevent the placement of weapons and an arms race in outer space,

Recalling the resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations “Prevention of an arms race in outer space”, where, inter alia, a conviction was expressed in the need for examination of further measures in the search for effective and verifiable bilateral and multilateral agreements in order to prevent an arms race in outer space,

Have agreed on the following:

Article I

For the purpose of this Treaty:

a) the term “outer space” means space beyond the elevation of approximately 100 km above ocean level of the Earth;

b) the term “outer space object” means any device, designed for functioning in outer space, being launched into an orbit around any celestial body, or being in the orbit around any celestial body, or on any celestial body except the Earth, or leaving the orbit around any celestial body towards this celestial body, or moving from any celestial body towards another celestial body, or placed in outer space by any other means;

c) the term “weapons in outer space” means any device placed in outer space, based on any physical principle, specially produced or converted to eliminate, damage or disrupt normal function of objects in outer space, on the Earth or in its air, as well as to eliminate population, components of biosphere critical to human existence or inflict damage to them;

d) a weapon will be considered as “placed” in outer space if it orbits the Earth at least once, or follows a section of such an orbit before leaving this orbit, or is stationed on a permanent basis somewhere in outer space;

e) the “use of force” or “threat of force” mean any hostile actions against outer space objects including, inter alia, those aimed at their destruction, damage, temporarily or permanently injuring normal functioning, deliberate alteration of the parameters of their orbit, or the threat of these actions.

Article II

States Parties undertake not to place in orbit around the Earth any objects carrying any kind of weapons, not to install such weapons on celestial bodies, and not to station such weapons in outer space in any other manner; not to resort to the threat or use of force against outer space objects; not to assist or encourage other states, groups of states or international organizations to participate in activities prohibited by the Treaty.

Article III

Each State Party shall take all necessary measures to prevent any activity prohibited by the Treaty on its territory or in any other place under its jurisdiction or control.

Article IV

Nothing in this Treaty can be interpreted as impeding the rights of the States Parties to explore and use outer space for peaceful purposes in accordance with international law, which include but are not limited to the Charter of the United Nations and the Outer Space Treaty.

Article V

Nothing in this Treaty can be construed as impeding the realization by the States Parties of the sovereign right for self-defense in accordance with Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations.

Article VI

With a view to facilitate assurance of compliance with the Treaty provisions and to promote transparency and confidence-building in outer space activities the States Parties shall practice on a voluntary basis, unless agreed otherwise, agreed confidence-building measures.

Measures of verification of compliance with the Treaty may be the subject of an additional protocol.

Article VII

When a dispute arises between States Parties concerning the application or the interpretation of the provisions of this Treaty, the parties concerned shall first consult together with a view to settling the dispute by negotiation and cooperation.

When the parties concerned do not come to an agreement after consultation, the disputed situation that has arisen may be referred to the Executive organization of the Treaty along with provision of the relevant argumentation.

Each State Party shall undertake to cooperate in the settlement of the disputed situation that has arisen with the Executive organization of the Treaty.

Article VIII

To promote the implementation of the objectives and the provisions of the Treaty, States Parties shall establish the Executive organization of the Treaty which shall:

a) receive for consideration inquiries by any State Party or a group of States Parties related to the grounds that have arisen to believe that the violation of the Treaty by any State Party is taking place;

b) consider matters concerning the compliance with the obligations taken by States Parties;

c) organize and conduct consultations with the State Parties with the view to settle down the situation that has arisen in connection with the violation of a State Party of the Treaty;

d) take measures to put an end to the violation of the Treaty by any State Party.

The title, status, specific functions and forms of work of the Executive organization of the Treaty shall be the subject of an additional protocol to the Treaty.

Article IX

International intergovernmental organizations may take part in the Treaty. Provisions defining variants and modalities of their participation in the Treaty shall be the subject of an additional protocol to the Treaty.

Article X

Any State Party may propose amendments to the Treaty. The text of any proposed amendment shall be submitted to the Depository who shall promptly circulate it to all States Parties. Upon the request of at least one third of the States Parties, the Depository Governments shall convene a conference to which all States Parties shall be invited to consider the proposed amendment.

Any amendment to the Treaty shall be approved by a majority of the votes of the States Parties. The amendment shall enter into force for all the States Parties in accordance with the procedures of the entry into force of the Treaty.

Article XI

The Treaty shall be of unlimited duration.

Each State Party shall in exercising its national sovereignty have the right to withdraw from the Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this Treaty, have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country. It shall notify the Depository in written form of the decision taken six months in advance of the withdrawal from the Treaty.

Article XII

The Treaty shall be opened for signature by all States at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Any State which did not sign the Treaty before its entry into force may accede to it at any time.

The Treaty shall be subject to ratification by signatory States in accordance with their constitutional norms. Instruments of ratification or accession shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who is hereby designated the Depository of the Treaty.

Article XIII

The Treaty shall enter into force upon the deposit of instruments of ratification by twenty States, including all Permanent Member States of the United Nations Security Council.

For States whose instruments of ratification or accession are deposited after the entry into force of the Treaty, it shall enter into force on the date of the deposit of their instruments of ratification or accession.

Article XIV

The Treaty, of which the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who shall send duly certified copies thereof to all signatory and acceding States.

See our earlier posts on the matter:

U.S. Braces For Face-Off Over Weapons Treaties

Statements From the Conference on Disarmament

More Statements,including the U.S., from the Conference on Disarmament

Germany’s Statement at the Conference on Disarmament

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