Last Thursday (04.28.2022), the Canadian Parliament approved amending the North American criminal law to allow prosecution of crimes committed on the moon.
The amendment, which received 181 votes in favor and 144 votes against, was included in the 443-page budget implementation plan. Under this new law, treatment for crimes committed on the moon is the same as in Canada.
The change comes at a time when the number of space missions is on the rise, with Artemis II set to launch aboard the Canadian astronaut in May 2024, the first manned mission to the moon in more than 50 years.
Crimes on the moon or on the way to it
Subtitled The Lunar Gateway, the Penal Code Amendment states: “If a Canadian crew member commits an offense or misconduct outside of Canada during a spaceflight, it is considered a felony to commit that offense in Canada, or to boycott in Canada.”
The document states that this includes crimes committed at the Lunar Gateway space station or “on the surface of the moon” as it prepares to orbit or orbit the moon.
Foreign astronauts who pose a “threat to the life or safety of a Canadian crew member” during Canadian-sponsored space travel may also be prosecuted.
The Canadian Space Agency is partnering with the European Space Agency and the Japan Space Agency on the US NASA Lunar Gateway Project.
Beginning in 2026, the station will serve as a starting point for robotic and human exploration of the lunar surface and for missions to Mars.
JU (afp, cbc.ca, space.com)
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