Autonomous Drones and Individual Criminal Responsibility
This chapter describes the impact that the introduction of autonomous drones to the battlespace may bring to efforts to hold individuals responsible for violations of the laws of war and gross violations of International Human Rights Law, such as crimes against humanity. It reviews the theories of criminal responsibility that may be applicable when autonomous drones are employed to perpetrate crimes. The chapter focuses on the theories of commission, planning and ordering. It shows a superior's failure to remain apprised of her subordinates conduct or to establish a monitoring system may constitute a lapse of duty that results in responsibility within the military disciplinary framework. This chapter focuses on the existence of an 'accountability gap' with respect to violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) as a result of the use of drone technology. It demonstrates that the development and use of autonomous drones will not result in a dramatic new 'accountability gap' for serious violations of international law.