Definition and Regulation of LAWS

On 13 November to 17 November 2017 the first meeting of the UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) took place in Geneva under the auspices of the 1980 UN Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which may be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to have Indiscriminate Effects (CCW). States Parties considered legal, ethical, military, and technological aspects of LAWS. Although no common definition was agreed, some States made proposals for a working definition and regulation of LAWS. Part I of this paper aims to assist reaching a common definition of LAWS by identifying core aspects of (i) varying degrees of autonomy, (ii) the difference between “automated” and “autonomous”, and (iii) the notion of human involvement. Part II considers the merits of various proposals for regulation including (i) the compliance-based approach, (ii) Article 36 weapons reviews, and (iii) a political declaration. Part III concludes with recommendations for ways forward on the definition and regulation of LAWS.

Read the full technical report from Ozlem Ulgen here.