The 125-nation conference in Geneva, which failed to reach a consensus on the future of “killer robots”, referred the matter back to experts, leading to the grief of those seeking clear results.
The final statement of the review meeting of the United Nations Convention (CCAC) on the use of certain conventional weapons, which took place on the shores of Lake Geneva from Monday, did not mention the issue of Autonomy of lethal weapons systems (SALA). In very general terms.
It recognizes the principles adopted from 2019 on the importance of international humanitarian law on all weapons systems, including SALA, or the fact that humans are “always responsible” for their use.
She also stressed that the convention, which already allowed progress on improved explosives equipment, laser weapons or mines, remained the right forum because it “seeks to find a balance between military needs and humanitarian considerations.”
A team of government experts who have already worked at length on the subject will meet in 2022 for a ten-day workday.
The “Stop Killer Robots” campaign, which brought together about 180 NGOs, was outraged at the short result and aimed at the United States or Russia.
The result was “completely inadequate” in the eyes of the majority of states, civil society and international public opinion, the delegate launched the campaign in front of delegates gathered at the Palais des Nations on Friday evening.
“This is a dead end! “It simply came to our notice then. There is no doubt about the Ottawa Convention model of banning anti-personnel mines.
We started with hard core countries and gradually tried to persuade others to join the movement.
For France and others, the strength of the CCAC is that it has “all the major military forces” and “we are sure that everyone will accept the obstacles when we negotiate and negotiate,” the French ambassador explained before the meeting. Disarmament issues in Geneva, Yan Hwang.
But how to find consensus. Traditionally, Russians do not want to tie their hands in advance and Americans are reminded that Friday evening is their preference for non-binding text.
“From our point of view, it goes a long way in promoting what is required by international humanitarian law and the standards of responsible conduct,” the Washington delegation recalled at the end of the session.
The concept of autonomous weapons is unclear, and the combination of dual-use technologies such as artificial intelligence – civilian and military – has made negotiations even more complicated.
If partially autonomous weapons already exist (e.g. decoys on military aircraft), truly autonomous systems on the battlefield that can be fought without human intervention are still theoretically possible, if we trust most experts.
But their rivals, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, the ICRC, the custodian of international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions, which are the basis for dozens of countries, should not wait for their existence. Stop them.
Speaking on behalf of many countries, including Germany, Brazil, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa or Italy, Norway and Sweden, Switzerland lamented the slight progress made before and regretted that some countries were abusing the rule of consensus. Everything.
“Our work so far has helped us to understand that autonomous weapons systems cannot be used in compliance with international humanitarian law,” the Swiss spokesman warned: “The current rate of progress in Au, technological development is likely to outweigh our negotiations”.