The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has called on states to ‘take immediate, concrete steps at the international level to pave the way towards treaty negotiations’ on autonomous weapons systems.
Commenting on recent meetings of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (GGE on LAWS), the ICRC outlined the common grounds emerging during discussions, including the need for ‘context-specific human judgement and control over the use of force; recognition that some types of autonomous weapons must never be used; and that autonomous weapons must be controlled and limited, and that concrete measures should be adopted to address the risks they pose.’ While expressing concern on the lack of momentum towards concrete measures, the ICRC hopes that ‘states will translate their commitment to upholding international humanitarian law and safeguarding humanity into meaningful and prompt action at the international level.’ It has called for an effective international response to materialise a ‘prohibition on autonomous weapon systems that are designed or used in a manner such that their effects cannot be sufficiently understood, predicted and explained; prohibition on autonomous weapon systems that are designed or used to apply force against persons and specific legal restrictions on the design and use of non-prohibited autonomous weapon systems, including to enable human judgement and control over specific attacks.’
The ICRC, which understands autonomous weapon systems as ‘weapons that select and apply force to targets without human intervention’, states that due to the rapid advances in emerging technologies relating to autonomous weapons, ‘it is critical that internationally agreed limits be established in a timely manner.’ The ICRC’s position and background paper on autonomous weapons is available here.
Sign up for our email alerts
"*" indicates required fields
We take data privacy seriously. Our Privacy Notice explains who we are, how we collect, share and use Personal Information, as well as how you can exercise your privacy rights, but don’t worry, we hate spam and will NEVER sell or share you details with anyone else.