35 Wis. Int'l L.J. 609 (2017-2018)
Autonomous Weapon Systems: The Possibility and Probability of Accountability

handle is hein.journals/wisint35 and id is 631 raw text is: 






AUTONOMOUS WEAPON SYSTEMS: THE POSSIBILITY
         AND PROBABILITY OF ACCOUNTABILITY

                             SWATI MALIK*

                               ABSTRACT

        This paper addresses the challenge of accountability that arises
in relation to autonomous weapon systems (AWS), a challenge which
focuses on the hypothesis that AWS will make it impossible to identify,
hold liable, and punish those responsible for unlawful outcomes that
result from their use. It is divided into five sections. Section I introduces
AWS and the three dilemmas associated with them that are based on
questions of international humanitarian law, the right to life, and
accountability, and which collectively establish AWS as weapons of
contention. After    evaluating   the  evolution   of  accountability   in
international law and discussing its relevance in the context of AWS in
section I, section II examines the concept of meaningful human control
apropos AWS. Section III reviews the potential avenues of accountability
attribution which may be available and section 1V the feasibility of its
assignment in case of commission of crimes impacted by the use of
AWS. Based on this analysis, section V comments on whether the
alleged AWS-specific accountability gap is real, and if so, whether it is
possible to bridge the gap through extant laws or by proposing the
development and introduction of a new framework. By demonstrating
that accountability attribution is indeed quite complex in the case of
AWS, this paper intends to situate the accountability debate in the midst
of the extant possibilities offered by law to safeguard against any
potential chasm and to guardedly dispose of the assumption that AWS
would prove to be impossible to regulate.


   Swati Malik works at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. This paper is
   written in her personal capacity and should not be read as reflective of the views of any
   organization or institution that she is associated with. The author would like to thank Professor
   Christof Heyns of the University of Pretoria for his insightful comments and support during the
   drafting of this paper and Professor Andrew Shacknove of the University of Oxford for his
   encouragement throughout her studies at Oxford. Finally, she would like to express her gratitude
   to the Global Governance Futures 2025 Program driven by the Global Public Policy Institute, as
   it was instrumental in precipitating her interest in the study of the legal aspects of autonomous
   weapon systems.

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