President’s Message/Message du Président Spring / Printemps 2018 9 While it may seem con- voluted and difficult to sort out, this is just a small portion of the problem pre- sented to the participants of the 2016 Malfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court organized by the International Institute of Space Law (IISL). Since its inception in 1992, the com- petition has challenged uni- versity teams of 2-3 law stu- dents to argue both sides of the hypothetical case in front of a panel of judges. Regional rounds take place in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America and assess both written submissions and debates to select the top teams that will meet at the World Finals taking place in conjunction with the annual International Astronautical Congress. The submissions are judged based on the teams’ ability to apply international treaties and custom- ary international law to their arguments and rebuttal statements. Aram Daniel Kerkonian, a Doctor of Civil Law Candidate with a focus on Space Law at McGill University, was one of the students arguing the Banché v Rastalia case. After months of preparation, his team prevailed over the competition at the regionals in Georgetown University to advance to the World Finals. From April to September 2016, Aram and his teammates revised their arguments in preparations for their trip to the main event in Guadalajara, Mexico. There, the team faced fierce competition reaching the semi-final stage. In the end, they were recognized for the best written submis- sion with the Eilene M. Galloway Award for Best Memorial. As Johnson says, “The Outer Space Treaty is a treaty of principles, and with each new development, limits are being tested and stretched.” Resource extraction and ADR/ OOS took different paths in reaching the international community. With regards to debris, the draft guidelines from the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC) were adopted with minor modifications by UNCOPUOS in 2007. Like the Principles Declaration from 1963, these guidelines are not binding, however COPUOS Member States were encouraged to implement these volun- tary guidelines through national legisla- tion. In contrast, the discussions on re- source extraction took a different path by first defining federal laws in the US and Luxemburg. These laws instigated on- going international discussions and are part of the agenda for the UNCOPUOS Legal Subcommittee. When asked wheth- er any of these negotiations could lead to an amendment to the OST, Kendall, Mas- son-Zwaan, and Johnson uniformly said no. The main fear is that there would be no end to those discussions. Furthermore, Masson-Zwaan added that, “we risk losing the fragile balance it provides us, the prin- ciples are workable and have stood the test of time.” Rather than amendments, one can expect supplemental treaties or guide- lines depending on the problem and con- sensus between Member States. To that end, Kendall warns us that “we all have to realize that unless some major changes were to occur, especially in relation to na- tional leaders accepting that new treaties with respect to space activities are a pri- ority—which, frankly, is not likely to hap- pen—the development of new regulations to guide current and future space actors is going to be slow and demanding.” As a final thought, the OST is a remark- able document that has set the principles that have and continue to guide human- kind’s exploration of outer space. And, like Johnson said, “space law is complex; it is not meant to defeat intentions in space, but rather preserve our freedoms of actions per Article I of the OST.” ■ Malfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court In 2016 the following hypothetical scenario was argued In 2028, the Banché government hired Couleur, a private company, to deorbit its inoperative Lavotto-1 microsatellite. The company used its shuttle-like spacecraft to perform a rendezvous, failed to grapple the satellite, and instead created a cloud of debris that damaged the vehicle endangering the lives of the astronauts. During the emergency landing in the neighbouring country of Rastalia, pieces of the spacecraft broke off and landed in a nearby campsite resulting in two casualties. Acknowledgements Special thanks to David Kendall, Tanja Masson- Zwaan, Christopher Johnson, and Aram Daniel Kerkonian for sharing their knowledge and insights over the past few months. Though their quotes and comments are embedded in the text, I take full respon- sibility for any errors or omissions in this publication. Space Law Moot Court 2016 Competition participants (left to right): Adam Newsome, Maria Manoli (coach) and Aram Kerkonian. Aside from the educational value, Aram highlights the importance of discussing cases as a means of engaging the legal com- munity in a dialogue on future technolo- gies. The moot court encourages students to follow in the steps of other space law visionaries of the pre-Sputnik era who helped define, study, and understand new technologies and their associated risks. Furthermore, the event is frequented by many industry legal advisors seeking inside knowledge on the reasoning for the courts and legal systems to provide better advice on emerging technologies. Mr. Kerkonian stressed that for many years we watched government agencies pave the way by launching the first rockets, satel- lites, and humans into space. These ad- vancements helped define many of the standards and laws applicable to today’s industry. However, recent advancements are challenging the current legislation with technologies that have never been tested by space agencies, and thus pose new legal questions like those presented in the moot court. Thus, like Aram said, it is an exciting time for the space law community. ■