Canada to Prosecute Those Who Commit Crimes on the Moon

By Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryAs ridiculous as this may sound, there is some rational basis for why Canada’s parliament passed a law that allows for Canada to prosecute those who commit crimes on the Moon. This law was passed to prosecute Canadian nationals who commit crimes on the International Space Station (ISS). Since there are Canadians who live and work in the ISS, the Canadian government reasons that they should still fall under Canadian law in case a crime or a civil law violation occurs. The Canadian government went further in making a law to prosecute Canadian nationals who commit a crime on the Moon if Canadians ever go to live on the Moon. It seems to be kind of open-ended proposal for Canada to bring the rule of law to another world.

However, there is a slight legal problem with this. Other than the facts that no one lives on the Moon at present, that no infrastructure has been built there to support human life, and the fact that not every nation is going to subscribe to Canada arbitrarily be the governing power of the Moon, the United States had gotten to the Moon first. A couple of American flags are still present on the Moon, and the footprints as well as some remains of American space craft are there. If anything, the United States has a far better claim to the Moon than any other country on Earth. I wonder how a court case over who has ownership over the Moon will play out here on Earth? The next question is whatever nation that goes to the Moon and actually establishes a presence there, will that nation agree to be subject to Canadian law? And how does Canada prosecute any non-Canadian citizens on the Moon if a crime does not involve Canadian citizens?

And what about China and Russia? If they should establish bases on the Moon, and send their citizens to the Moon, will they agree to being subject to Canadian law even if somehow, someway, their nationals might commit crimes against Canadians who might live on the Moon? I would think that Chinese and Russian nationals would prefer to be prosecuted by their own respective governments, if they are prosecuted at all. What may be accepted under Canadian law may not be accepted under Chinese and Russian law. It may not even be accepted under American law. And what if other nations should also be able to send their citizens to the Moon? This could include countries like Japan, India, Great Britain, France or Germany. These countries also have fairly advanced space programs, and it is not a far-fetched idea that their nationals might just as equally be stationed on the Moon someday. I feel that all nations should someday convene a conference to deal with what international authority needs to be set up in dealing with what laws will apply for if and when people do live on the Moon. Personally, we should be dealing with the more acute problems, crisis, wars and disasters that we have on Earth first.

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