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Student
Title
Supervisor
Faculty
Educational Programme
Final Grade
Year of Graduation
Mariya Khaydich
Prospects for the Use of Autonomous Weapons: International Law and Doctrine
Jurisprudence
(Bachelor’s programme)
2018
The development of technology has led to the emergence of fundamentally new weapon systems - autonomous weapons. Their main difference from all forms of weapons that existed before is the ability to make independent decisions on the battlefield, and in some cases, training in the field. Some authors call the emergence of autonomous weapons the third revolution in military affairs after the invention of gunpowder and nuclear weapons. The mere fact of its invention entailed heated debates. Their main questions are as follows. Are existing norms of international law sufficient to regulate the development and use of such weapons? Is its application generally acceptable in terms of ethics and morality? And if so, to what extent? This study aims to attempt to find answers to these questions. To do this, a comprehensive analysis of the main points of discussion on the admissibility of using autonomous weapons was carried out, including the arguments of the supporters of a complete preventive ban on all further developments. The existing autonomous systems used by the armed forces of different countries mainly in semi-autonomous regimes were examined. Also, an analysis of the norms of international humanitarian law governing the use of such weapons systems was conducted.

Two main conclusions were reached. First, autonomy is more a sum of technologies than a single technology. Therefore, autonomous weapons can not be regarded as a homogeneous category, and the answers to the questions stated above will vary depending on the level of autonomy in a particular type of autonomous weapon. And secondly, the existing concepts of international law are sufficient to regulate such systems. The elaboration of new specialized norms should concertize and harmonize them in the light of the subject of their regulation.

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