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Legal consequences for the state arising from the use of weapons against civil aircraft: review and legal framework development

Journal: RUDN Journal of Law (Vol.25, No. 4)

Publication Date:

Authors : ; ;

Page : 831-854

Keywords : aerial accident; international air law; principle of non-use of weapons against civil aircraft; security exception; self-defence; compensation; international civil aviation;

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The authors elaborate on one of the controversial issues of international air law - safety of civil aircraft in flight in respect of the use of weapons against it. The first part of the present article considers major aerial accidents arising from shooting down the civil aircraft for the last 70 years as a factual basis for further legal analysis. In the second part, the authors back up customary prohibition of the use of weapons against civil aircraft in flight and legal consequences for states for violating the mentioned principle. The authors investigate the grounds for the ‘security exception’ and conclude that the only grounds for derogation from the principle of non-use of weapons against civil aircraft is Article 51 of the UN Charter proclaiming the inherent right of the state to self-defence. Even in this case, the application of the ‘security exception’ by the state is tolerated by using a set of precautions before employment of weapons. Finally, authors conclude that compensation for victims reflects the inevitable monetisation of human lives. Moreover, states’ negotiations reveal the controversial reality of trade-offs between them, where compensation amounts are occasionally affected by external political factors and current position of a particular state in the international community.

Last modified: 2021-11-25 04:30:43