Emerging technologies and the principle of distinction : a further blurring of the lines between combatants and civilians ?
Michael W. Meier
The impact of emerging technologies on the law of armed conflict
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2019
New technologies, such as Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), also often referred to as Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPAs) or “drones,” Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS), and cyber operations may provide an alternative to waging warfare with large ground forces. These technologies allow States to move soldiers further from the battlefield while enabling States to bring military power to bear that may be more discriminate than current systems. These technologies allow States to use force while reducing the threat of casualties to their own forces and destruction of their own property. However, the development of these technologies brings its own challenges as certain technology can be purchased commercially off the shelf. This chapter will examine the questions surrounding how these particular technologies impact the implementation of the principle of distinction. Section II will look at the principle of distinction itself and the two requirements under the principle. Section III will consider the challenges in the application of this principle with respect to LAWS, cyber capabilities, and RPAs. Section IV will consider the argument put forth by Professors Yoo and Rabkin that the principle of distinction needs to be changed in order for these new technologies to be effective.
By entering this website, you consent to the use of technologies, such as cookies and analytics, to customise content, advertising and provide social media features. This will be used to analyse traffic to the website, allowing us to understand visitor preferences and improving our services. Learn more