Civil Aircraft as Weapons of Large-Scale Destruction: Countermeasures, Article 3BIS of the Chicago Convention, and the Newly Adopted German “Luftsicherheitsgesetz”

It is thus the aim of this Article to map out the international legal framework relevant for designing countermeasures against nonstate actors who convert civil aircraft into weapons of destruction. As a first step, this Article sketches out the applicable rules relating to international civil aviation security and highlights the dichotomy between nonstate actor threats and interstate threats at the base of these rules. As will be seen below, nonstate actors abusing civil aircraft as weapons of destruction is a new challenge not only in terms of destructive quality but also in a legal sense, in that the question of the lawfulness of adequate countermeasures is situated somewhere between the two skeins of a traditionally divided framework. The Article then turns to a terminological, historical, and teleological analysis of the first two sentences of article 3bis of the Chicago Convention, analyzing this provision’s interrelation with the right to self-defense and the contemporary debate surrounding Article 51 of the UN Charter.