Last Thursday (04.28.2022), the Canadian Parliament approved an amendment to the North American country’s criminal code to allow for the prosecution of crimes committed on the moon.
The amendment to the law, approved by 181 votes to 144 against, was included in the 443-page budget implementation draft. Under this new legislation, the treatment of crimes committed on the Moon is the same as in Canada.
The change comes at a time of increasing number of spaceflights, and ahead of the first manned mission to the Moon in more than 50 years, scheduled for launch in May 2024, aboard the Canadian spacecraft Artemis II.
Crimes on the moon or on the way to it
An amendment to the Penal Code under the Lunar Gateway reads: “A member of the Canadian crew who, during a space flight, commits an act or omission outside Canada which, if committed in Canada constitutes a punishable offense, shall be deemed to have committed that act or omission in Canada.” .
This could include crimes en route or at the Lunar Gateway space station preparing to orbit the Moon, as well as “on the surface of the Moon,” the document says.
According to the bill, foreign astronauts who “endanger the life or safety of a Canadian crew member” on a Canadian-backed space mission could also be prosecuted.
The Canadian Space Agency is participating in the Moon Gate project, led by the US NASA, together with the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
From 2026, this station will serve as a springboard for robotic and human exploration of the lunar surface, as well as for trips to Mars.
JU (afp, cbc.ca, space.com)