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International Law in the Age of Asymmetrical Warfare, Virtual Cockpits and Autonomous Robots

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyzes if the use of unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs) will affect how one perceives state intervention in the territory of other states. The US use 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 circumstances 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. 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.

Keywords: armed-conflict; international law; law enforcement model; lethal autonomous robotics (LARS); unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs); US counterterrorism operations



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