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The Impact of Emerging Technologies on the Law of Armed Conflict$
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Ronald T.P. Alcala and Eric Talbot Jensen

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190915322

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190915322.001.0001

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Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems

Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems


(p.69) 4 Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems
The Impact of Emerging Technologies on the Law of Armed Conflict

Laura A. Dickinson

Oxford University Press

The rise of lethal autonomous weapons systems creates numerous problems for legal regimes meant to ensure public accountability for unlawful uses of force. In particular, international humanitarian law has long relied on enforcement through individual criminal responsibility, which is complicated by autonomous weapons that fragment responsibility for decisions to deploy violence. Accordingly, there may often be no human being with the requisite level of intent to trigger individual responsibility under existing doctrine. In response, perhaps international criminal law could be reformed to account for such issues. Or, in the alternative, greater emphasis on other forms of accountability, such as tort liability and state responsibility might be useful supplements. Another form of accountability that often gets overlooked or dismissed as inconsequential is one that could be termed “administrative accountability.” This chapter provides a close look at this type of accountability and its potential.

Keywords:   Armed conflict, Weapons, Use of force, war, peace and neutrality, International humanitarian law

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