chapter  3
19 Pages

Weapons law, weapon reviews and new technologies

WithBill Boothby

This chapter discusses the principles and rules of the law of weaponry and the obligation legally placed on all States to review new weapons. It considers the normal weapons law criteria. The Biological Weapons, Chemical Weapons, Ottawa, and Cluster Munitions Conventions apply to all classes of conflict, as do the customary law on superfluous injury/unnecessary suffering and indiscriminate weapons principles and the customary rules of weapons law, such as the prohibition of poisons or poisoned weapons. The law is not prescriptive as to the form that a weapon review must take, does not lay down any required procedure, and does not oblige states to disclose the contents of their reviews. The weapon reviewer is concerned with the law applicable to the weapon system as such and not with the legality of a particular attack. The weapon reviewer should then consider whether the automated or autonomous weapon system is capable of being used in accordance with the targeting rules.