Killer Robot Treaty Opposed by Major Nations at UN Talks

Aljazeera reported that UN talks in mid-December had not resulted in negotiations on ending the pursuit of autonomous killing machines. Discussions stopped short of launching negotiations on an international treaty that would curtail life and death decisions made by software and machine processes on the battlefield. The Sixth Review Conference of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) failed to schedule further talks around the development and use of the Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems, or LAWS.

Sources following the talks told Reuters news agency that Russia, India and the United States were among the countries that pushed back against a new LAWS treaty. The report noted that Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg and New Zealand’s Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control Phil Twyford have both called for the development of new international laws regulating autonomous weapons. The new government coalition agreements of Norway and Germany have also promised to take action on this issue. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was among those to express disappointment in the outcome of the talks. Photo courtesy of Wolfgang Kumm/AFP (DPA).