The final report of the Meeting of High Contracting Parties to the CCW in 2019 saw the adoption, at Annex III of “Guiding Principles affirmed by the Group of Governmental Experts on Emerging Technologies in the Area of Lethal Autonomous Weapons System[s]”. These principles had been under development since 2018, and the version adopted in 2019 added only a single additional paragraph (paragraph ‘c’) to the ‘Possible Guiding Principles’ finalised at the end of 2018.

These ‘Guiding Principles’ have also been embraced by the so-called ‘Alliance for Multilateralism’ under which France and Germany framed them under ‘a political declaration’ referred to as ‘11 Principles on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems’. Such a reframing enables those states to argue that they have fulfilled previous assertions that they would work for a political declaration on this issue, but the content of the text remains the same.

This paper below provide a paragraph-by-paragraph critical commentary on the content of the 2019 Guiding Principles, highlighting the limitations and the possible points of utility within the document.

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Critical Commentary on the “Guiding Principles”

Policy note
November 2019


Featured image: The UN building in Geneva (Article 36)

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