Presentation and position of France [fr]
The lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) are weapons potentially capable of identifying, engaging and neutralizing a target without human intervention.
Even if such systems do not exist, the autonomy of these weapons systems would raise questions on the moral, legal or operational aspects. This is why a debate on how to grasp these weapons, which do not belong yet to the strategic reality, is necessary. It is a forward-looking debate.
Furthermore, the autonomy, which is not a synonym for automaticity, raises numerous questions on the strategic opportunity of the development and the use of these weapons.
Finally, if the talks on the LAWS matter take place within the framework of the Convention on certain Conventional Weapons of 1980, there is no commonly agreed definition today. This is one of the main current challenges of the debates on LAWS.
The talks on LAWS within the CCW have been launched in 2013, following the French initiative.
Considering the forward-looking nature of these systems and the necessity to agree on a common perimeter of talks, France believes it is necessary to pursue the exchanges within the CCW, and if necessary within the framework of a group of governmental experts.
France exposed, during an intervention in Geneva, the following conditions for a weapon to be identified as a LAWS : no form a human supervision is possible, the weapon must be autonomously mobile within a terrestrial, aerial or marine area, it must be able to select a target and launch the shoot of a lethal munition autonomously, it must be able to adapt to its environment and the behavior of agents around it.