JOURNAL OF DEFENCE STUDIES

Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems under Existing Norms of International Humanitarian Law

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  • July-September 2020
    Volume: 
    14
    Issue: 
    3
    Focus

    This article explores the position of lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) under the existing rules of international humanitarian law (IHL). It argues that though the existing rules of IHL are sufficient for certain weapons systems, there is a need to develop new rules for fully autonomous weapons systems. The author makes a case that the call for a blanket ban on LAWS in general is premature and the expected use of such weapons must be acknowledged before such a ban is considered. An analysis of the position of LAWS under Article 36 of Additional Protocol I is also undertaken along with an exploration of the question of attribution of responsibility for war crimes and breaches of IHL if such weapons are deployed. The incident involving Iran Air Flight 655 is used as a case study to highlight the problems of accountability.

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