Project lead: Paola Gaeta, Professor, International Law
Timeline: July 2018 - June 2022
Keywords: international criminal law; international humanitarian law; individual criminal responsibility for war crimes; autonomous weapons systems; war crimes; methods of warfare
Funding Organisation: Swiss National Science Foundation
The LAWS & War Crimes project analyses the challenges of ascribing criminal responsibility for war crimes raised by the advent of increasingly autonomous weapon systems and human-machine shared decision-making in the targeting process (so-called mixed-initiative systems).
In particular, the project focusses on the criminal responsibility of the user of autonomous weapons and of the human-operator in mixed systems. It is in this area that the risk of a responsibility gap is greatest. It is likely that the criminal intent required for the commission of war crimes in combat operations is lacking. At the same time, it is also likely that the causal connection between the human conduct and the harmful and wrongful result is missing.
The LAWS & War Crimes project seeks to understand this gap, both at the international and domestic level, and identify ways to resolve it.
The project team consists of an international team of researchers based at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and is supported by a four-year grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation.