Home LATEST NEWS In Geneva, no agreement for negotiations on the use of killer robots

In Geneva, no agreement for negotiations on the use of killer robots


The final declaration of the review conference of the United Nations Convention on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons (CCAC), which has been held on the shores of Lake Geneva since Monday, does not address the subject of Lethal Weapons Systems autonomous (SALA) than in fairly general terms.

It recognizes principles acquired since 2019, on the precedence of international humanitarian law over all weapons systems, including SALA, or the fact that humans must at any time take responsibility of their use.

She also insists on the fact that the CCAC – which has already allowed progress on improvised explosive devices, laser weapons or mines – remains the appropriate forum because it attempts to strike a balance between military necessity and humanitarian considerations.

The group of government experts who have already worked at length on the subject will meet for 10 working days in 2022.

CountrysideStop killer Robots“,” text “:” Stop killer Robots “}} ‘>Stop killer Robots, which brings together nearly 180 Non-governmental organization, was indignant at the meager result and points the finger at the United States or Russia.

This result is totally insufficient in the eyes of the vast majority of States, civil society and international public opinion, launched the representative of the campaign Friday evening in front of the delegations gathered at the Palais des Nations.

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It’s a dead end!, he hammered, believing that the discussion would have to be done elsewhere. No doubt on the model of the Ottawa convention on the prohibition of anti-personnel mines: We start with a hard core of countries and we try little by little to convince others to join the movement.

For France and others, the strength of the CCAC is that it encompasses all major military powers and when we discuss and negotiate we are sure that everyone accepts the constraints, explained before the meeting the French Ambassador responsible for disarmament issues in Geneva, Yann Hwang.

In search of an international consensus

But how to find consensus. Traditionally, the Russians do not wish to tie their hands in advance and the Americans recalled Friday evening that their preference was for a non-binding text.

From our perspective, this would go a long way in clarifying what international humanitarian law requires and promoting standards of responsible behavior., recalled the delegate from Washington at the end of the session.

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The debates are all the more difficult as the concept of autonomous weapons is vague, and mixes so-called dual-use technologies – civil and military – such as artificial intelligence.

If partially autonomous weapons already exist (decoys on military aircraft for example), truly autonomous systems on the battlefield, capable of fighting without human intervention, are still theoretical, if we are to believe most experts.

But their opponents, who also include the secretary general ofUnited Nations Organization, Antonio Guterres, the ICRC, guardian of the Geneva Conventions which are the basis of international humanitarian law and dozens of countries, do not want to wait until they exist to stop them.

Switzerland, which spoke for many countries including Germany, Brazil, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa or Italy, Norway and Sweden, said its disappointment in front of the little progress, and regretted that some countries are abusing the rule of consensus to block everything.

What our work has enabled us to understand so far is that autonomous weapon systems cannot be used while respecting international humanitarian law., said the Swiss delegate and warn: At the current rate of advancement, technological development is likely to overtake our deliberations.

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