Sachdeva, G.S., Crimes in Outer Space: Perspectives from Law and Justice, 2023

This book flags and contemplates the lurking problem of space crimes that may escalate and expand with diversification of space activities, greater footfall on the celestial bodies and passage of time, for the lack of appropriate solutions. It appraises the incumbent problems to evolve solutions and make recommendations regarding space crime situations. Recognizing current situation where commercial space travel has commenced, and space tourism is not far behind, the book takes a pole position on discussing the topic with its endemic challenges. Space transportation is expected to lead to commercial mining of celestial mineral resources from the Moon and asteroids, as has been found technically feasible and commercially viable. Space-specific products have been identified for industrial mining, processing, and manufacturing, for which manpower would be necessary, howsoever minimal, despite artificial intelligence devices. Blueprints for space habitations on the Moon and Mars are being prepared. In this scenario, where outer space and celestial bodies may soon be inhabited by multi-nationality, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural groupings of tourists, workers, and residents, given cramped and not so comfortable or private living spaces, attitudinal disparities and conflicting beliefs, differences, disputes, conflicts, and crimes are sure to raise their head. Economic activity and business culture may usher in crimes of competition and spying on intellectual property. Space crimes through technologies like cyber, lasers, etc., may also permeate the space domain for ill-intentioned abuses. The criminals may be individuals or collective groups or incognito terrorists. The book also discusses crimes and near-crimes that have already occurred in space but have been ignored or condoned. Absence of sovereignty on celestial bodies coupled with crimes in space or on celestial bodies, presents problems of jurisdiction, extradition, and other legal procedures. The dilemma of multi-national judicial systems, legal codes and norms of social justice need to be resolved by a specialized treaty reconciling major bends in the existing system vis--vis the nature of space crimes. Limitations in handling such crimes by the existing judicial system under established doctrines of international law by International Court of Justice or International Criminal Court, is highlighted in the book. It has strong take-aways for research scholars, law fraternity, diplomatic corps, judicial administration, policy-makers and the political class, enabling them to pro-actively initiate action for suitable answers.