International Humanitarian Law and Autonomous Weapons: Challenges and Implications

  • Dr. Tanvi Sehgal
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  • Dr. Tanvi Sehgal

    Assistant Professor at VIPS, GGSIP University, India

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Technological advancement has brought a revolution in weapon systems to the extent that the requirement of human intervention and control is gradually fading. As the extent of machine autonomy is increasing, it becomes pertinent to assess the compatibility of such weapons with rules of International Humanitarian Law (hereinafter IHL). Granting complete autonomy to weapons would mean allowing them to make crucial decisions of life and death. Although machines are well equipped to make data analysis and perform mathematical calculations, making a distinction between civilians and combatants can be a challenging task for them in some situations. This distinction is inevitable for the compliance of two fundamental principles of IHL i.e. principle of distinction and proportionality. The present article assesses if autonomous weapons can be made compliant to the above-mentioned principles and what would be the challenges imposed by the use of such weapons. It provides some suggestions for rule making and finally concludes that at present it is important to keep a human being in loop and that complete autonomy to weapon systems can lead to catastrophic results.


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 3, Page 2144 - 2156


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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution -NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits remixing, adapting, and building upon the work for non-commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.


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