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UN expert demands freeze on robot weapons

Published on May 30, 2013 7:36 PM
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US Nobel Peace laureate Jody Williams (left) and International Committee for Robot Arms Control Chairman Professor Noel Sharkey pose with a mock killer robot in Central London, on April 23, 2013, during the launching of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, which calls for the ban of lethal robot weapons that would be able to select and attack targets without any human intervention. The international community must impose a moratorium on robot weapons, a United Nations expert told the world body's top human rights forum on Thursday, warning that they could enable war crimes to go unpunished. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

GENEVA (AFP) - The international community must impose a moratorium on robot weapons, a United Nations expert told the world body's top human rights forum on Thursday, warning that they could enable war crimes to go unpunished.

"Human rights requires that human beings should in one way or another retain meaningful control over weapons of war," Mr Christof Heyns said in a debate at the UN Human Rights Council on lethal autonomous robots, or LARs.

As a result, nations should "declare and implement national moratoria on the production, assembly, transfer, acquisition, deployment and use of LARs until a framework on the future of LARs has been established".

"Their deployment may be unacceptable because no adequate system of legal accountability can be devised," said Mr Heyns, the UN's special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

 
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