Group of governmental experts on autonomous weapons to continue work in 2022

In the context of the Sixth Review Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Prohibitions of Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects – held on 13–17 December 2021 – states agreed that work of the open-ended Group of Governmental Experts related to emerging technologies in the area of lethal autonomous weapons systems (GGE on LAWS) is to continue in 2022. The GGE is expected to meet for ten days in 2022, and ‘consider proposals and evabolater, by consensus, possible measures […] and other options related to the normative and operational framework on emerging technologies in the areas of LAWS’, building upon the group’s previous recommendations and conclusions and bringing in expertise of legal, military, and technological aspects. The outcome of the conference on issues related to LAWS was criticised by several stakeholders such as the Stop Killer Robots coalition, who saw it as a ‘missed opportunity to recognise the need to draw clear legal and moral lines to ensure meaningful human control over the use of force, and respond with a strong and focused mandate to begin negotiations on a legally binding instrument of autonomous weapons’. In his message to the conference, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres encouraged the conference ‘to agree on an ambitious plan for the future to establish restrictions on the use of certain types of autonomous weapons’.