CONVENTION

ON INTERNATIONAL LIABILITY

FOR DAMAGE CAUSED

BY SPACE OBJECTS

(1972)



ENTERED INTO FORCE: 1 September 1972


The States Parties to this Convention,

Recognising the common interest of all mankind in furthering the
exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes,

Recalling the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in
the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other
Celestial Bodies,

Taking into consideration that, notwithstanding the precautionary
measures to be taken by States and international intergovernmental
organisations involved in the launching of space objects, damage may on
occasion be caused by such objects,

Recognizing the need to elaborate effective international rules and
procedures concerning liability for damage caused by space objects and to
ensure, in particular, the prompt payment under the terms of this
Convention of a full and equitable measure of compensation to victims of
such damage,

Believing that the establishment of such rules and procedures will
contribute to the strengthening of international co-operation in the
field of the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes,

Have agreed on the following:

Article I. For the purposes of this Convention:

    (a) The term "damage" means loss of life, personal injury or other
impairment of health; or loss of or damage to property of States or of
persons, natural or juridical, or property of international
intergovernmental organisations;

    (b) The term "launching" includes attempted launching;

    (c) The term "launching State" means: 

     (i)  a state which launches or procures the launching of a space
          object;
     (ii) a State from whose territory or facility a space object is
          launched;

    (d) The term "space object" includes component parts of a space
object as well as its launch vehicle and parts thereof.

Article II.  A launching State shall be absolutely liable to pay
compensation for damage caused by its space object on the surface of the
earth or to aircraft in flight.

Article III.  In the event of damage being caused elsewhere than on the
surface of the earth to a space object of one launching State or to
persons or property on board such a space object by a space object of
another launching State, the latter shall be liable only if the damage is
due to its fault or the fault of persons for whom it is responsible.

Article IV. 1. In the event of damage being caused elsewhere than on the
surface of the earth to a space object of one launching State or to
persons or property on board such a space object by a space object of
another launching State, and of damage thereby being caused to a third
State or to its natural or juridical persons, the first two States shall
be jointly and severally liable to the third State, to the extent
indicated by the following:

 (a) If the damage has been caused to the third State on the surface of
     the earth or to aircraft in flight, their liability to the third
     State shall be absolute;

 (b) If the damage has been caused to a space object of the third State
     or to persons or property on board that space object elsewhere than
     on the surface of the earth, their liability to the third State
     shall be based on the fault of either of the first two States or on
     the fault of persons for whom either is responsible.

    2. In all cases of joint and several liability referred to in
paragraph 1 of this Article, the burden of compensation for the damage
shall be apportioned between the first two States in accordance with the
extent to which they were at fault; if the extent of the fault of each of
these States cannot be established, the burden of compensation shall be
apportioned equally between them. Such apportionment shall be without
prejudice to the right of the third State to seek the entire compensation
due under this Convention from any or all of the launching States which
are jointly and severally liable.

Article V. 1. Whenever two or more States jointly launch a space object,
they shall be jointly and severally liable for any damage caused.

    2. A launching State which has paid compensation for damage shall
have the right to present a claim for indemnification to other
participants in the joint launching. The participants in a joint
launching may conclude agreements regarding the apportioning among
themselves of the financial obligation in respect of which they are
jointly and severally liable. Such agreements shall be without prejudice
to the right of a State sustaining damage to seek the entire compensation
due under this Convention from any or all of the launching States which
are jointly and severally liable.

    3. A State from whose territory or facility a space object is
launched shall be regarded as a participant in a joint launching.

Article VI. 1. Subject to the provisions of paragraph 2 of this Article,
exoneration from absolute liability shall be granted to the extent that a
launching State establishes that the damage has resulted either wholly or
partially from gross negligence or from an act or omission done with
intent to cause damage on the part of a claimant State or of natural or
juridical persons it represents.

    2. No exoneration whatever shall be granted in cases where the damage
has resulted from activities conducted by a launching State which are not
in conformity with international law including, in particular, the
Charter of the United Nations and the Treaty on Principles Governing the
Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including
the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies.

Article VII.  The provisions of this Convention shall not apply to damage
caused by a space object of a launching State to:

 (a) nationals of that launching State;

 (b) foreign nationals during such time as they are participating in the
     operation of that space object from the time of its launching or at
     any stage thereafter until its descent, or during such time as they
     are in the immediate vicinity of a planned launching or recovery
     area as the result of an invitation by that launching State.

Article VIII. 1. A State which suffers damage, or whose natural or
juridical persons suffer damage, may present to a launching State a claim
for compensation for such damage.

    2. If the State of nationality has not presented a claim, another
State may, in respect of damage sustained in its territory by any natural
or juridical person, present a claim to a launching State.

    3. If neither the State of nationality nor the State in whose
territory the damage was sustained has presented a claim or notified its
intention of presenting a claim, another State may, in respect of damage
sustained by its permanent residents, present a claim to a launching
State.

Article IX. A claim for compensation for damage shall be presented to a
launching State through diplomatic channels. If a State does not maintain
diplomatic relations with the launching State concerned, it may request
another State to present its claim to that launching State or otherwise
represent its interests under this Convention. It may also present its
claim through the Secretary-General of the United Nations, provided the
claimant State and the launching State are both Members of the United
Nations.

Article X. 1. A claim for compensation for damage may be presented to a
launching State not later than one year following the date of the
occurrence of the damage or the identification of the launching State
which is liable.

    2. If, however, a State does not know of the occurrence of the damage
or has not been able to identify the launching State which is liable, it
may present a claim within one year following the date on which it
learned of the aforementioned facts; however, this period shall in no
event exceed one year following the date on which the State could
reasonably be expected to have learned of the facts through the exercise
of due diligence.

    3. The time-limits specified in paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article
shall apply even if the full extent of the damage may not be known. In
this event, however, the claimant State shall be entitled to revise the
claim and submit additional documentation after the expiration of such
time-limits until one year after the full extent of the damage is known.

Article XI. 1. Presentation of a claim to a launching State for
compensation for damage under this Convention shall not require the prior
exhaustion of any local remedies which may be available to a claimant
State or to natural or juridical persons it represents.

    2. Nothing in this Convention shall prevent a State, or natural or
juridical persons it might represent, from pursuing a claim in the courts
or administrative tribunals or agencies of a launching State. A State
shall not, however, be entitled to present a claim under this Convention
in respect of the same damage for which a claim is being pursued in the
courts or administrative tribunals or agencies of a launching State or
under another international agreement which is binding on the States
concerned.

Article XII.  The compensation which the launching State shall be liable
to pay for damage under this Convention shall be determined in accordance
with international law and the principles of justice and equity, in order
to provide such reparation in respect of the damage as will restore the
person, natural or juridical, State or international organisation on
whose behalf the claim is presented to the condition which would have
existed if the damage had not occurred.

Article XIII.  Unless the claimant State and the State from which
compensation is due under this Convention agree on another form of
compensation, the compensation shall be paid in the currency of the
claimant State or, if that State so requests, in the currency of the
State from which compensation is due.

Article XIV. If no settlement of a claim is arrived at through diplomatic
negotiations as provided for in Article IX, within one year from the date
on which the claimant State notifies the launching State that it has
submitted the documentation of its claim, the parties concerned shall
establish a Claims Commission at the request of either party.

Article XV. 1. The Claims Commission shall be composed of three members:
one appointed by the claimant State, one appointed by the launching State
and the third member, the Chairman, to be chosen by both parties jointly.
Each party shall make its appointment within two months of the request
for the establishment of the Claims Commission.

    2. If no agreement is reached on the choice of the Chairman within
four months of the request for the establishment of the Commission,
either party may request the Secretary-General of the United Nations to
appoint the Chairman within a further period of two months.

Article XVI. 1. If one of the parties does not make its appointment
within the stipulated period, the Chairman shall, at the request of the
other party, constitute a single-member Claims Commission.

    2. Any vacancy which may arise in the Commission for whatever reason
shall be filled by the same procedure adopted for the original
appointment.

    3. The Commission shall determine its own procedure.

    4. The Commission shall determine the place or places where it shall
sit and all other administrative matters.

    5. Except in the case of decisions and awards by a single-member
Commission, all decision and awards of the Commission shall be by
majority vote.

Article XVII. No increase in the membership of the Claims Commission
shall take place by reason of two or more claimant States or launching
States being joined in any one proceeding before the Commission. The
claimant States so joined shall collectively appoint one member of the
Commission in the same manner and subject to the same conditions as would
be the case for a single claimant State. When two or more launching
States are so joined, they shall collectively appoint one member of the
Commission in the same way. If the claimant States or the launching
States do not make the appointment within the stipulated period, the
Chairman shall constitute a single-member Commission.

Article XVIII. The Claims Commission shall decide the merits of the claim
for compensation and determine the amount of compensation payable, if
any.

Article XIX. 1. The Claims Commission shall act in accordance with the
provisions of Article XII.

    2. The decision of the Commission shall be final and binding if the
parties have so agreed; otherwise the Commission shall render a final and
recommendatory award, which the parties shall consider in good faith. The
Commission shall state the reasons for its decision or award.

    3. The Commission shall give its decision or award as promptly as
possible and no later than one year from the date of its establishment,
unless an extension of this period is found necessary by the Commission.

    4. The Commission shall make its decision or award public. It shall
deliver a certified copy of its decision or award to each of the parties
and to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Article XX. The expenses in regard to the Claims Commission shall be
borne equally by the parties, unless otherwise decided by the Commission.

Article XXI. If the damage caused by a space object presents a
large-scale danger to human life or seriously interferes with the living
conditions of the population or the functioning of vital centres, the
States Parties, and in particular the launching State, shall examine the
possibility of rendering appropriate and rapid assistance to the State
which has suffered the damage, when it so requests. However, nothing in
this Article shall affect the rights or obligations of the States Parties
under this Convention.

Article XXII. 1. In this Convention, with the exception of Articles XXIV
to XXVII, references to States shall be deemed to apply to any
international intergovernmental organisation which conducts space
activities if the organisation declares its acceptance of the rights and
obligations provided for in this Convention and if a majority of the
States members of the organisation are State Parties to this Convention
and to the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the
Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other
Celestial Bodies.

    2. States members of any such organisation which are States Parties
to this Convention shall take all appropriate steps to ensure that the
organisation makes a declaration in accordance with the preceding
paragraph.

    3. If an international intergovernmental organisation is liable for
damage by virtue of the provisions of this Convention, that organisation
and those of its members which are States Parties to this Convention
shall be jointly and severally liable; provided, however, that:

 (a) any claim for compensation in respect of such damage shall be first
     presented to the organisation;

 (b) only where the organisation has not paid, within a period of six
     months, any sum agreed or determined to be due as compensation for
     such damage, may the claimant State invoke the liability of the
     members which are States Parties to this Convention for the payment
     of that sum.

    4. Any claim, pursuant to the provisions of this Convention, for
compensation in respect of damage caused to an organisation which has
made a declaration in accordance with paragraph 1 of this Article shall
be presented by a State member of the organisation which is a State Party
to this Convention.

Article XXIII. 1. The provisions of this Convention shall not affect
other international agreements in force in so far as relations between
the States Parties to such agreements are concerned.

    2. No provision of this Convention shall prevent States from
concluding international agreements reaffirming, supplementing or
extending its provisions.

Article XXIV. 1. This Convention shall be open to all States for
signature. Any State which does not sign this Convention before its entry
into force in accordance with paragraph 3 of this Article may accede to
it at any time.

    2. This Convention shall be subject to ratification by signatory
States. Instruments of ratification and instruments of accession shall be
deposited with the Governments of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United
States of America, which are hereby designated the Depositary
Governments.

    3. This Convention shall enter into force on the deposit of the fifth
instrument of ratification.

    4. For States whose instruments of ratification or accession are
deposited subsequent to the entry into force of this Convention, it shall
enter into force on the date of the deposit of their instruments of
ratification or accession.

    5. The Depositary Governments shall promptly inform all signatory and
acceding States of the date of each signature, the date of deposit of
each instrument of ratification of and accession to this Convention, the
date of its entry into force and other notices.

    6. This Convention shall be registered by the Depositary Governments
pursuant to Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations.

Article XXV. Any State Party to this Convention may propose amendments to
this Convention. Amendments shall enter into force for each State Party
to the Convention accepting the amendments upon their acceptance by a
majority of the States Parties to the Convention and thereafter for each
remaining State Party on the date of acceptance by it.

Article XXVI. Ten years after the entry into force of this Convention,
the question of the review of this Convention shall be included in the
provisional agenda of the United Nations General Assembly in order to
consider, in the light of past application of the Convention, whether it
requires revision. However, at any time after the Convention has been in
force for five years, and at the request of one third of the States
Parties to the Convention, and with the concurrence of the majority of
the States Parties, a conference of the States Parties shall be convened
to review this Convention.

Article XXVII. Any State Party to this Convention may give notice of its
withdrawal from the Convention one year after its entry into force by
written notification to the Depositary Governments. Such withdrawal shall
take effect one year from the date of receipt of this notification.

Article XXVIII. This Convention, of which the English, Russian, French,
Spanish and Chinese texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited in
the archives of the Depositary Governments. Duly certified copies of this
Convention shall be transmitted by the Depositary Governments to the
Governments of the signatory and acceding States.

In witness whereof the undersigned, duly authorized thereto, have signed
this Convention.

Done in triplicate, at the cities of London, Moscow and Washington, this
twenty-ninth day of March, one thousand nine hundred and seventy-two.