in Dražan Djukić and Nicolò Pons, eds., The Companion to International Humanitarian Law, Leiden: Brill Nijhoff, 2018
4 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2019 Last revised: 23 Jul 2019
Date Written: 2018
This entry puts forth a proposed definition of drones, briefly discusses their history and highlights the issues their contemporary use creates. Drones are land, sea or air vehicle that is remotely or automatically controlled and perhaps surprisingly, date back to the late 19th century. Used in limited numbers in both World War I and II for reconnaissance, weaponizing drones transformed their operational capabilities. A number of States, as well as organized armed groups, have used armed drones in armed conflict. The increased use of armed drones has highlighted the tension between international human rights law and international humanitarian law and when, where, and how those bodies of law apply.
Keywords: drones, autonomous weapons, lethal weapons, killer robots, autonomous, LAWS, humanitarian law, human rights
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