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Implementing Article 36 weapon reviews in the light of increasing autonomy in weapon systems
Vincent Boulanin
SIPRI Insights on Peace and Security no. 2015/1

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Article 36 of Additional Protocol I of the 1949 Geneva Conventions requires states to conduct legal reviews of all new weapons, means and methods of warfare in order to determine whether their use is prohibited by international law. However, reviewing the legality of weapons with automated and autonomous features presents a number of technical challenges. Such reviews demand complex procedures to test weapon performance and to evaluate the risks associated with unintended loss of control. As such assessments require significant technical and financial resources, there is a strong incentive for deepening cooperation and information sharing between states in the a rea of weapon reviews. Increased interaction can facilitate the identification of best practices and solutions to reduce costs associated with test and evaluation procedures.

About the author

Dr Vincent Boulanin (France) is a researcher at SIPRI. He works on issues related to the production, use and control of emerging military and security technologies, notably cyber-surveillance and autonomous weapon systems. He received his PhD in political science from École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris in October 2014.

Publisher: SIPRI
27 pp.
November 2015


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