Assessing LOAC compliance and discourse as new technologies emerge : from effects-driven analysis to "what effects ?"
Laurie R. Blank
The impact of emerging technologies on the law of armed conflict
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2019
This chapter explores the consequences for effective discourse about law of armed conflict compliance of new technologies that intentionally or effectively mask the effects of an attack, the location or identify of the attackers, or even the very existence of an attack at all during armed conflict. The first section frames the problem that new technologies may pose for assessing LOAC compliance, highlighting what may be, in essence, a new “effects problem.” These problems include situations where the effects of an attack are unclear or cannot be seen at all, where the connection between the weapon or attacker and the effects cannot be identified, and where a harm may occur but it is unclear or impossible to tell that there was an attack. This section also briefly introduces the methodology for assessing LOAC implementation and compliance in the context of targeting and the dangers of the effects-driven analysis for both the goals of the law and the law’s future development. The second section then addresses the consequences of this potential new “effects problem,” examining the challenges of legal analysis in the absence of externally identifiable information about what happened, who suffered what effects, or who launched what type of weapon or attack. In addition, this section seeks to identify pressure points for LOAC analysis in the context of new technologies that place stressors on the traditional tools and touchstones of legal analysis.
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