The Varied Law of Autonomous Weapon Systems
NATO ALLIED COMMAND TRANSFORMATION, AUTONOMOUS SYSTEMS: ISSUES FOR DEFENCE POLICY MAKERS (Andrew Williams & Paul Scharre, eds.) (2015, Forthcoming)
29 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2015 Last revised: 19 Nov 2015
Date Written: February 24, 2015
What law governs autonomous weapon systems? Those who have addressed this subject tend to focus on the law of armed conflict and debate whether it is sufficiently flexible to regulate such weaponry. But while it will undoubtedly be one of the more significant sources of states’ legal obligations, the international laws applicable to the development or use of autonomous weapon systems are hardly limited to those rules regarding the conduct of hostilities. Other legal regimes — including international human rights law, the law of the sea, space law, and the law of state responsibility — may also be relevant to how states may lawfully create or employ autonomous weapon systems, resulting in a complex and evolving web of international governance.
Keywords: autonomous weapon system, autonomous lethal weapon, automation, autonomy, robot, law of war, law of armed conflict, international humanitarian law, IHL, human rights, law of the sea, space law, state responsibility, treaty, customary international law, soft law
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