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Part One Compliance and Accountability, 4 Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems: The Overlooked Importance of Administrative Accountability

Laura A. Dickinson

From: The Impact of Emerging Technologies on the Law of Armed Conflict

Edited By: MAJ Ronald T.P. Alcala, Eric Talbot Jensen

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 20 October 2021

Subject(s):
Armed conflict — Weapons

The rise of lethal autonomous weapons systems creates numerous problems for legal regimes meant to ensure public accountability for unlawful uses of force. In particular, international humanitarian law has long relied on enforcement through individual criminal responsibility, which is complicated by autonomous weapons that fragment responsibility for decisions to deploy violence. Accordingly, there may often be no human being with the requisite level of intent to trigger individual responsibility under existing doctrine. In response, perhaps international criminal law could be reformed to account for such issues. Or, in the alternative, greater emphasis on other forms of accountability, such as tort liability and state responsibility might be useful supplements. Another form of accountability that often gets overlooked or dismissed as inconsequential is one that could be termed “administrative accountability.” This chapter provides a close look at this type of accountability and its potential.

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