SURPRISE SURPRISE, the financial system provides the first alleged crime in outer space. Captain kirk, “eat your heart out”!!!
- There are five national or international space agencies involved in the ISS – from the US, Canada, Japan, Russia and several European countries – and a legal framework sets out that national law applies to any people and possessions in space.
- So if a Canadian national were to commit a crime in space, they would be subject to Canadian law, and a Russian citizen to Russian law.
- Space law also sets out provisions for extradition back on Earth, should a nation decide it wishes to prosecute a citizen of another nation for misconduct in space.
- As space tourism becomes a reality, so might the need to prosecute space crime, but for now the legal framework remains untested. Nasa officials told the New York Times that they were not aware of any crimes committed on the space station.
- The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration [Nasa] is reported to be investigating a claim that an astronaut accessed the bank account of her estranged spouse from the International Space Station, in what may be the first allegation of a crime committed in space
- Anne McClain acknowledges accessing the account from the ISS but denies any wrongdoing, the New York Times reports.
- Her estranged spouse, Summer Worden, reportedly filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
- Ms McClain has since returned to Earth. And the astronaut told the New York Times through a lawyer that she was merely making sure that the family’s finances were in order and there was enough money to pay bills and care for Ms Worden’s son – who they had been raising together prior to the split.
- “She strenuously denies that she did anything improper,” said her lawyer, Rusty Hardin, adding that Ms McClain was “totally co-operating”.
- The astronaut, Anne McClain, involved completely denies any wrongdoing. Nonetheless, it provides an interesting starting point to consider the exercise of criminal jurisdiction in space.
The following post sheds some light on the in’s and out’s of space criminal law
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