The Final Frontier: responsibility of international organizations for outer space activities


  • Bence Kis Kelemen Senior Lecturer, University of Pécs, Faculty of Law, Department of International and European Law



ARIO, international organization, responsibility, outer space activity, lex specialis


The responsibility of international organizations for internationally wrongful acts is by no means a field of international law that is ruled by consensus even on the level of the most basic norms of responsibility. This confusion is even more prevalent when an international organization acts in outer space. International law applicable for outer space activity is sometimes regarded as lex
specialis to general norms of responsibility without much further considerations. The aim of this contribution is to examine whether this statement has merit, in light of the Outer Space Treaty and the Liability Convention and the Articles of the Responsibility of International Organizations drafted by the International Law Commission. Based on a theoretical analysis––due to the lack of practice––, it can be concluded, that the joint and several responsibility regime created by the Outer Space Treaty, and the liability and––at the same time––international responsibility system of the Liability Convention are indeed lex specialis and this responsibility is by default shared in nature. This conclusion is valid only for damage caused by illegal space activity by space objects on the surface of the Earth and to aircraft in flight.