Volume 33 (2008)

Volume 33 (2008) / Issue 3

Fabio Tronchetti, 'The Non–Appropriation Principle as a Structural Norm of International Law: A New Way of Interpreting Article II of the Outer Space Treaty' (2008) 33 Air and Space Law, Issue 3, pp. 277–305


The non–appropriation principle represents the fundamental rule of the space law system. Since the beginning of the space era, it has allowed for the safe and orderly development of space activities. Nowadays, however, the principle is under attack. Some proposals, arguing the need for abolishing it in order to promote commercial use of outer space are undermining its relevance and threatening its role as a guiding principle for present and future space activities. This paper aims at safeguarding the non–appropriative nature of outer space by suggesting a new interpretation of the non–appropriation principle that is based on the view that this principle should be regarded as a customary rule of international law of a special character, namely ‘a structural norm’ of international law.

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ISSN: 0927-3379
ID: AILA2008021