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The Principle of Sovereignty in the Air - To what extent can it be upheld against aerial intruders?

Engvers, Alexander (2001)
Department of Law
Abstract
The issue of possession of the air has been debated over literally thousands of years. The Romans debated the ownership of the air above their cornfields. When man finally could construct aircraft, in this case a balloon, heavier-than-air in the 1780's it did not take long before the first regulation came into force. The issue of state sovereignty had been discussed since the national states started to materialize during the late Middle Ages. It became even more important as the number of states grew in the 18th and 19th Centuries. The beginning of the 20th Century saw a rapid development of engine-powered aircraft. Several pilots lost their way over the borders of Europe and the first cases of aerial intruders were a fact. Scholars... (More)
The issue of possession of the air has been debated over literally thousands of years. The Romans debated the ownership of the air above their cornfields. When man finally could construct aircraft, in this case a balloon, heavier-than-air in the 1780's it did not take long before the first regulation came into force. The issue of state sovereignty had been discussed since the national states started to materialize during the late Middle Ages. It became even more important as the number of states grew in the 18th and 19th Centuries. The beginning of the 20th Century saw a rapid development of engine-powered aircraft. Several pilots lost their way over the borders of Europe and the first cases of aerial intruders were a fact. Scholars debated over the issue of total freedom and total sovereignty in the air. The winning side was for total sovereignty and since then that idea has prevailed. Between the two World Wars the development of aircraft escalated and the first airlines were formed. After the Second World War it was possible to fly across oceans on a regular basis. The need for a universal convention on civil aviation was great. The result, the Chicago Convention on Civil Aviation, is still governing the skies of the world. With an increasing number of aircraft in the air, the number of mistakes also increases. Over the last fifty years, a large number of aircraft have wandered off from their authorized routes into foreign and forbidden air territories. The sovereignty of the air space gives each state exclusive right to its own air territory and aircraft within that territory without permission are seen and treated as intruders. Several serious incidents have occurred, many with the loss of lives and aircraft as a result. There is a disagreement on what means can be used against aerial intruders and either customary law or a somewhat recent written provision have changed this. The difference between civil aircraft and state aircraft is also debated. There seems to be a difference in the treatment of these groups of aircraft. State aircraft and military aircraft in particular often become targets for the weapons on the intercepting aircraft. Unfortunately, this is the case with many civil aircraft as well. The general rule is that no violence is to be used, either on civil or state aircraft. The rule is unconditional regarding civil aircraft since they have no chance to defend or forestall the interceptors. The rule is conditional for state aircraft, i.e. military aircraft, if they are armed and if there is an uncertainty about the classification of the aircraft it is presumed to be civilian in order to save lives and equipment. (Less)
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author
Engvers, Alexander
supervisor
organization
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Folkrätt
language
English
id
1557232
date added to LUP
2010-03-08 15:55:20
date last changed
2010-03-08 15:55:20
@misc{1557232,
  abstract     = {The issue of possession of the air has been debated over literally thousands of years. The Romans debated the ownership of the air above their cornfields. When man finally could construct aircraft, in this case a balloon, heavier-than-air in the 1780's it did not take long before the first regulation came into force. The issue of state sovereignty had been discussed since the national states started to materialize during the late Middle Ages. It became even more important as the number of states grew in the 18th and 19th Centuries. The beginning of the 20th Century saw a rapid development of engine-powered aircraft. Several pilots lost their way over the borders of Europe and the first cases of aerial intruders were a fact. Scholars debated over the issue of total freedom and total sovereignty in the air. The winning side was for total sovereignty and since then that idea has prevailed. Between the two World Wars the development of aircraft escalated and the first airlines were formed. After the Second World War it was possible to fly across oceans on a regular basis. The need for a universal convention on civil aviation was great. The result, the Chicago Convention on Civil Aviation, is still governing the skies of the world. With an increasing number of aircraft in the air, the number of mistakes also increases. Over the last fifty years, a large number of aircraft have wandered off from their authorized routes into foreign and forbidden air territories. The sovereignty of the air space gives each state exclusive right to its own air territory and aircraft within that territory without permission are seen and treated as intruders. Several serious incidents have occurred, many with the loss of lives and aircraft as a result. There is a disagreement on what means can be used against aerial intruders and either customary law or a somewhat recent written provision have changed this. The difference between civil aircraft and state aircraft is also debated. There seems to be a difference in the treatment of these groups of aircraft. State aircraft and military aircraft in particular often become targets for the weapons on the intercepting aircraft. Unfortunately, this is the case with many civil aircraft as well. The general rule is that no violence is to be used, either on civil or state aircraft. The rule is unconditional regarding civil aircraft since they have no chance to defend or forestall the interceptors. The rule is conditional for state aircraft, i.e. military aircraft, if they are armed and if there is an uncertainty about the classification of the aircraft it is presumed to be civilian in order to save lives and equipment.},
  author       = {Engvers, Alexander},
  keyword      = {Folkrätt},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The Principle of Sovereignty in the Air - To what extent can it be upheld against aerial intruders?},
  year         = {2001},
}