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Background - Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems

Background on Lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS)

Potentially LAWS could identify and attack a target without human intervention. This issue was first brought to the international community’s attention by Human Rights Watch in its report titledLosing Humanity: The Case Against Killer Robots.

At the 2013 CCW Meeting of States Parties, the Chairperson, Ambassador Jean-Hugues Simon-Michel of France, negotiated the first mandate within the CCW on LAWS. Meetings of Experts were held in 2014 and 2015 and a third meeting will take place this year in which Ambassador Michael Biontino of Germany will serve as Chairperson.

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots as part of its advocacy on LAWS produced this short film explaining the background to LAWS and work being undertaken within the United Nations and civil society. More recently, the Campaign has produced this film on their work during the 2015 Meeting of Experts on LAWS.

UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR)

UNIDIR has been one of the first international actors to address issues related to the Weaponization of Increasingly Autonomous Technologies in the context of security and disarmament. The Institute started dedicated work on autonomy in 2013 and has produced numerous resources that frame complex issues in accessible ways, including observation reports and audio files of expert presentations.

UNIDIR Publications

The Weaponization of Increasingly Autonomous Technologies in the Maritime Environment: Testing the Waters, 2015

The Weaponization of Increasingly Autonomous Technologies: Considering Ethics and Social Values, 2015

The Weaponization of Increasingly Autonomous Technologies: Considering how Meaningful Human Control might move the discussion forward, 2014

Framing Discussions on the Weaponization of Increasingly Autonomous Technologies, 2014

ICRC Publications

Report of Second ICRC Expert Meeting, September 2016

Report of the First ICRC Expert Meeting, 26 - 28 March 2014

Views of the ICRC on autonomous weapon systems, CCW meeting, 11 April 2016

Background documents on lethal autonomous weapons

American Society of International Law - Panel on Autonomous Weaponry and Armed Conflict

ARKIN, Ronald - Lethal Autonomous Systems and the Plight of the Non-combatant

ARKIN, Ronald. The Case for Banning Killer Robots: Counterpoint.

ASARO, Peter - On banning autonomous weapon systems: human rights, automation, and the dehumanization of lethal decision-making

ANDERSON, Kenneth and WAXMAN, Matthew - Law and Ethics for Autonomous Weapons Systems: Why a Ban Won't Work and How the Laws of War Can

BILLS, Gwendelynn. LAWS unto Themselves: Controlling the Development and Use of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems.

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists - Autonomous weapons, civilian safety, and regulation versus prohibition

Future of Life Institute - Open Letter on Autonomous Weapons

GARCIA, Denise - Battle bots: How the World Should Prepare Itself for Robotic Warfare (Foreign Affairs)

GARCIA, Denise - Future arms, technologies, and international law: Preventive security governance (EJIS)

HEYNS, Christof - Report on Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (focusing on lethal autonomous weapons systems)

HOLLIS, Duncan B. Setting the Stage: Autonomous Legal Reasoning in International Humanitarian Law.

International Institute of Humanitarian Law - International Humanitarian Law and New Weapon Technologies

LEWIS, John. The Case for Regulating Fully Autonomous Weapons.

MARCHANT, Gary; ALLENBY, Braden; ARKIN, Ronald; BARRETT, Edward; BORENSTEIN, Jason; GAUDET, Lyn; KITTERIE, Orde; LIN, Patrick; LUCAS, George; O'MEARA, Richard; and SILBERMAN, Jared - International Governance of Autonomous Military Robots (from The Colombia, Science and Technology Law Review)

MARSH, Nicholas (2014) Defining the Scope of Autonomy, PRIO Policy Brief, 2. Oslo: PRIO.

MELZER, Nils - Human Rights Implications of the Usage of Drones and Unmanned Robots in Warfare - Legal Study and Policy Advice. Brussels: European Union Parliament, 2013

LIN, Patrick; BEKEY, George; and ABNEY, Keith - Autonomous Military Robotics: Risk, Ethics, and Design

ROFF, Heather M. Lethal Autonomous Weapons and Jus Ad Bellum Proportionality.

Scharre, Paul, Autonomous Weapons and Operational Risk, Centre for New American Studies

SHARKEY, Noel - The evitability of autonomous robots warfare

SHARKEY, Noel - Towards a principle for the human supervisory control of robot weapons

SHARKEY, Noel - Weapons of Indiscriminate Lethality

SCHMITT, Michael - Autonomous Weapon Systems and International Humanitarian Law: A Reply to the Critics

World Economic Forum, 2016 - What if robots go to war?

GERMANY - Publication by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany - Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems -Technology, Definition, Ethics, Law and Security