Third meeting of the Woomera Manual on the International Law of Military Space Operations in The Hague, The Netherlands

Exeter legal academics discuss military space operations at expert meeting in The Hague

Between 5 and 9 August 2019, Professor Hitoshi Nasu and Dr Kubo Mačák attended the third meeting of the Woomera Manual on the International Law of Military Space Operations in The Hague, The Netherlands.

Over thirty global experts on international law and space security gathered in The Hague to discuss international legal rules applicable to military space operations. This was the third meeting of the Woomera Manual project, whose mission is to develop a Manual that objectively articulates and clarifies existing international law as it applies to military space operations. The University of Exeter is one of the project’s founding institutions and was represented at the meeting by two of its international law experts, Professor Hitoshi Nasu and Dr Kubo Mačák.

The discussions focused on a wide range of topics, including the legal responsibility for national military space activities, the applicability of the law of armed conflict in outer space, and the collective security regime with respect to military space operations. Professor Nasu said: “At The Hague, the Project reached a milestone as we edged close to completion of the first draft of the Woomera Manual. We are all grateful to the Dutch Ministry of Defence for their generous support, without which we could not have such a productive week”.

The Woomera Manual aims to be an objective statement of existing international law as it applies to military space operations. The key target audience of the Manual includes government lawyers (especially military lawyers), policy-makers, decision-makers and military space operators. However, it is also expected to spark interest and debate in the wider society and internationally, as well as serving as a platform for further academic debate and research, particularly as legal principles and policies are further developed in response to changing political realities and the evolving global security environment.

The meeting in The Hague was hosted by the Dutch Ministry of Defence. In addition to the University of Exeter, the founding institutions of the Woomera Manual project include the University of Adelaide (Australia), the University of Nebraska College of Law (United States), and the University of New South Wales in Canberra (Australia). The next meeting has been planned for February 2020 in Canberra, Australia.

Date: 14 August 2019