International law in the age of asymmetrical warfare, virtual cockpits and autonomous robots
International law and changing perceptions of security : liber amicorum Said Mahmoudi
Leiden : Brill, 2014
Will the use of unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs) affect how we perceive state intervention in the territory of other states? The US uses UCAVs to target enemies as a part of its counterterrorism operations. This has raised several concerns, including a discussion on the relevant legal framework. Should counterterrorism operate under the armed-conflict or law enforcement model? Under what circumstance are targeted killings allowed under international law? This discussion is influenced by the fact that almost all targeted killings are directed against non-State actors and generally carried out while the targeted person is not visibly engaged in active combat. Finally, the use of lethal autonomous robotics (LARS) would increase the distance even more between the person who controls the use of force and the target, in that targeting decisions could be taken by the robots themselves. There are reasons to discuss whether such technology should be added to the arsenals of states. Since robots lack moral agency they cannot be held legally responsible in any accustomed way. How is it possible to address this potential accountability gap?
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