Building a Concept of Effective Human Control

  • Tarisa Yasin (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


This paper addresses how effective human control over lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS) can be conceptualised to ensure that the development and use of such weapon systems can comply with international humanitarian law (IHL). There are three key factors that demonstrate the need for flexibility in regulating lethal autonomous weapon systems. These are 1) the various types of LAWS; 2) the varying levels of autonomy of the different types of LAWS; and 3) the varying forms of human control that can be exercised over LAWS throughout their lifecycle. These factors explain why autonomy should be viewed on a scale in terms of degrees of autonomy rather than a dichotomy in terms of whether a weapon system is or is not autonomous.

This paper proposes a theoretical concept of effective human control that incorporates the three key factors and existing norms, rules and principles of IHL. Concepts of state responsibility under international law and individual responsibility under international criminal law also form part of the theoretical foundation. The paper will examine the benefits and limitations of the concept of effective human control through the lens of some of the underlying concerns raised during the informal meeting of experts and the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (GGE on LAWS).

Additional information

Paper presented at the 2022 Australasian Society of Legal Philosophy Conference hosted by the University of Syndey.
Period15 Jul 2022
Held atAustralasian Society of Legal Philosophy, Australia