Lethal Autonomous Robots and the UN Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW)

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, of which ICRAC is one of the founding members, shared a video explaining how the issue of lethal autonomous robots has been picked up by the international community at the United Nations Convention on Conventional Weapons in Geneva.

The purpose of the Convention is to ban or restrict the use of specific types of weapons that are considered to cause unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering to combatants or to affect civilians indiscriminately. The structure of the CCW – a chapeau Convention and annexed Protocols – was adopted in this manner to ensure future flexibility. The Convention itself contains only general provisions. All prohibitions or restrictions on the use of specific weapons or weapon systems are the object of the Protocols annexed to the Convention.

The video also provides a look at the forthcoming experts meeting on May 13-16, 2014. During the current runup to that meeting, the issue of LARs is oftentimes compared to blinding laser weapons. These are prohibited by the CCW in Protocol IV which came into force in 1998. ICRAC and the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots work towards a similar prohibition or “ban” of lethal autonomous robots. The expert meeting report will be discussed at the next CCW meeting of states parties in November.

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