Interview: Prof. Tanja-Masson Zwaan, Deputy Director, International Institute of Air and Space Law, Leiden University

Prof. Tanja Masson-Zwaan is Assistant Professor and Deputy Director of the International Institute of Air and Space Law at Leiden University. Tanja has specialised in the field of air and space law since 25 years. She is the President of the International Institute of Space Law since 2007 and has published papers on a variety of topics over the years.  In August 2012, she was appointed by the Dutch Government as an Arbitrator with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in the framework of the Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes Relating to Outer Space Activities.Read More »


Air Defense Identification Zones & China: What does International Law Say?

By Sarthak Malhotra

Senkaku Islands. Credits: Kyodo News, via Associated Press

As the time for South China Sea arbitration ruling comes closer, the foreign policy circles, including those of countries like the United States of America, are witnessing increasing discussions on the issue of China using a negative ruling as a pretext to declare an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the South China Sea.[1] Interestingly, the United States was the first country to set up an ADIZ in 1950 during the Cold War era.

Read More »

IATA Conditions of Contract and Carriage (Passengers And Baggage): A Constant Tussle between Regulatory Authorities and Airlines

 By Rishiraj Baruah *

  1. Introduction

International Air Transport Association (IATA) is a private international organization; whose members are airlines, specifically composed of the scheduled airlines of the world.[1] While, it is a private corporate body incorporated according to Canadian Law with its headquarters in Montreal, it performs functions which are ‘quasi- public’ in nature.[2] It is termed as quasi-public because half of its members are either State-owned airlines or are de facto controlled by States which logically, means that mostly members are either controlled or supervised by their respective states and conduct operations according to the will of their governments.[3]Read More »

Are Drone Attacks lawful?

By Sakshi Pawar/ Rishika Mendiratta*

drones_lawful_international_Law_usaThe legality of drone attacks has been a hot topic and a subject of countless debates in international law. US has time and again been accused of using the predatory drones to the disadvantage of the other non-state and state thus raising the question of fairness, proportionality of these attacks. The countries which are being subject to the attack have often questioned the ease with which a man sitting on the other side of the globe can destroy several lives without having to face the danger or the repercussions that come with putting your own troops in battle. The victims of such attacks have questioned the morality and cowardice portrayed by the US in deploying such predator drones. It began with the killing of Anwar Al- Awlaki who was a high ranking Taliban militant. He was the first American citizen killed abroad by drones and this sparked outrage and various debates in the past few years and the clash points have been based on two principles, jus in bellum and jus ad bello.Read More »

The Shooting of MH17: Is international law failing?

By Rishiraj Baruah*

Ukraine_ Is MH17 attack lawful?_international_law
The wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

The Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lampur, flying at 33,000 feet, was shot down in the Donetsk Oblast in Eastern Ukraine on 17th July 2014. All passengers and crew on board were killed instantly as the aircraft broke in-flight and its remnants subsequently crashed on ground.[1] The civilian aircraft was allegedly shot down using surface to air missiles (SAM) by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, however the separatists and Russia claims to the contrary. Following this human tragedy of shooting down MH17, there was much international hue and cry over Russian responsibility for the act due to its alliance with the separatist forces in Donetsk Oblast.[2] However, state responsibility under international law is not so simple as it seems. I would firstly, examine hereinafter whether Russia could be held responsible for the shooting down of MH17 by the separatist forces and thenceforth evaluate the public air law response to this tragedy. The reason for such an approach is the lex generalis nature of public international law and public air law being lex specialis.Read More »