The Development of Unmanned Weapons and the Challenges for International Law

Sanne Verschuren
Onbemande wapens dagen het internationaal recht uitDoor Sanne VerschurenOnder begeleiding van Professor Eduard Somers en Professor Rik CoolsaetOp 2 juli 2013 voerde het Amerikaanse leger een drone-aanval uit op een verdacht erf in een afgelegen Pakistaans stammengebied. Volgens de Pakistaanse overheid werden hierbij vijf mensen verwond en kwamen zestien mensen om het leven, waaronder enkele leden van het Haqqani netwerk.

The Development of Unmanned Weapons and the Challenges for International Law

Onbemande wapens dagen het internationaal recht uit

Door Sanne Verschuren

Onder begeleiding van Professor Eduard Somers en Professor Rik Coolsaet

Op 2 juli 2013 voerde het Amerikaanse leger een drone-aanval uit op een verdacht erf in een afgelegen Pakistaans stammengebied. Volgens de Pakistaanse overheid werden hierbij vijf mensen verwond en kwamen zestien mensen om het leven, waaronder enkele leden van het Haqqani netwerk. Deze groep wordt verantwoordelijk geacht voor het beramen en uitvoeren van verscheidene aanvallen ten opzichte van Amerikaanse en Afghaanse veiligheidstroepen.

Onbemande wapens spelen een steeds belangrijkere rol in de hedendaagse oorlogsvoering. Een aantal landen, zoals de Verenigde Staten en Israël hebben deze nieuwe technologie reeds ingezet tijdens militaire aanvallen in Afghanistan, Irak, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalië en de Gaza-strook. Verder bezitten heel wat andere landen dit soort wapens of tonen er interesse in. Vaak aangehaalde redenen voor het gebruik van deze opkomende oorlogswapens zijn de geringe kostprijs, het verminderde risico voor het militair personeel en de mogelijkheid tot precisieaanvallen, ook in anders ontoegankelijke gebieden.

Bij het gebruik van onbemande wapens stellen zich echter vele – ook juridische – vragen. Is een onbemand wapen wettelijk? Zijn er bepaalde juridische grenzen aan het gebruik ervan? Kan deze technologie worden ingezet bij militaire acties buiten een conflictzone, zoals bijvoorbeeld in Yemen? Wie is aansprakelijk voor het mogelijke wangedrag bij het gebruik van zulke wapens? Deze opkomende technologie zal dus moeten worden getoetst aan de regels van het internationaal recht.

Onbemande wapens hebben niet alleen betrekking op onbemande vliegtuigen, zoals drones. Marine- en grondtoestellen worden eveneens in beschouwing genomen. Het onderzoek beperkt zich daarentegen tot de militaire gevechtstoepassingen van deze technologie. Momenteel worden bij het uitvoeren van zulke functies enkel toestellen ingezet die vanop afstand bestuurd worden of semiautomatisch zijn. De uiteindelijke beslissing om over te gaan tot een gewapende aanval zal steeds genomen worden door een persoon. In de toekomst, evenwel, zal er steeds meer gebruik gemaakt worden van volledig autonome wapens waarbij de uiteindelijke autorisatie voor een gewapende tussenkomst afhankelijk zal zijn van het toestel zelf, aangestuurd door een combinatie van computerprogramma’s.

Het ius ad bellum bepaalt onder welke omstandigheden een staat legaal geweld mag gebruiken ten opzichte van een andere staat. Momenteel wordt het gebruik van onbemande wapens voornamelijk gerechtvaardigd door het recht op zelfverdediging en door het verkrijgen van toestemming van de staat op wiens grondgebied de aanval zal plaatsvinden. Het gebruik van onbemande wapens beïnvloedt deze juridische concepten niet direct. Toch kunnen verschillende moeilijkheden worden vastgesteld. Men kan zich immers afvragen of de vage toestemming voor de drone-aanvallen in Pakistan vanwege de Pakistaanse regering een voldoende basis is om het drone-gebruik van de Verenigde Staten te rechtvaardigen? Er is dus dringend verduidelijking nodig met betrekking tot deze juridische concepten.

Volgens het internationaal recht kan een conflict enerzijds als een internationaal gewapend conflict en anderzijds als een niet-internationaal of intern gewapend conflict worden beschouwd. Deze kwalificatie bepaalt welke regels van het internationaal humanitair recht op het conflict van toepassing zijn. Onbemande wapens spelen een belangrijke rol in de oorlog tegen terreur. De classificatie ervan wordt echter hevig bediscussieerd in de juridische wereld. Deze zogeheten globale oorlog zou bij voorkeur moeten worden opgedeeld in sub-conflicten, waarvan de kwalificatie afzonderlijk moet worden vastgesteld. Daarnaast is er nood aan een nieuwe juridische structuur met betrekking tot de typologie van conflicten.

Indien het gebruik van onbemande wapens plaatsvindt binnen de context van één van beide type conflicten, is het oorlogsrecht van toepassing. Allereerst kan men zich de vraag stellen of deze wapens op zich legaal zijn. Staten zijn immers verplicht om nieuwe wapens te onderzoeken op hun legaliteit. Het internationaal recht bevat geen specifieke bepalingen omtrent deze wapens. Men kan wel terugplooien op de algemene juridische beginselen met betrekking tot de legaliteit van wapens, zoals de verplichting om burgers en burgerdoelwitten te onderscheiden van militaire doelwitten. Onbemande wapens die vanop een afstand bestuurd worden of semiautonoom zijn lijken deze beginselen niet te schenden. De legaliteit van autonome wapens daarentegen is erg betwistbaar. Verder is het gebruik van wapens in het internationaal recht ook aan bepaalde grenzen gebonden, zoals de principes van discriminatie en proportionaliteit. Hierbij kunnen verschillende problemen worden vastgesteld. Zo kan bijvoorbeeld de vraag gesteld worden of de zogeheten signature strikes, waarbij het stellen van verdacht gedrag voldoende is om over te gaan tot een aanval, niet in strijd is met het beginsel van discriminatie. Bovendien is het gebruik van autonome wapens uiterst problematisch.

Daarnaast worden onbemande wapens frequent ingezet buiten conflicten. In dergelijk geval zijn de algemene regels van rechtshandhaving en principes van de mensenrechten van toepassing. Zo legt het recht op leven duidelijke beperkingen op bij het uitvoeren van gerichte aanvallen ten opzichte van individuen buiten oorlogssituaties, bijvoorbeeld het bestaan van een ernstige dreiging alvorens tot een aanval over te gaan.

Regels uit het internationaal humanitair recht en de mensenrechten kunnen enkel effectief worden afgedwongen, indien er een mechanisme van aansprakelijkheid bestaat. Men kan waarnemen dat slachtoffers van aanvallen met onbemande wapens bijna geen toegang hebben tot een rechtbank en geen aanspraak kunnen maken op eventuele schadevergoedingen. Er is ook een tekort aan informatie over zulke aanvallen. Bovendien is het, zeker bij autonome wapens moeilijk om de verantwoordelijkheid voor eventueel wangedrag vast te stellen.

Naast deze juridische vragen, dringen zich ook een aantal ethische en politieke bezwaren op tegen het gebruik van onbemande wapens, zoals hun effect op de plaatselijke bevolking.

Het toenemend gebruik van onbemande wapens en de ontwikkeling naar meer autonomie ervan hebben een grote invloed hebben op het internationaal recht. Bijgevolg kan er besloten worden dat er allereerst een debat omtrent het gebruik van onbemande toestellen in de internationale gemeenschap moet worden opgestart. Vervolgens zouden enkele informele stappen kunnen worden ondernomen, zoals een gedragscode. Dit zou uiteindelijk moeten uitmonden in het onderhandelen en ondertekenen van een internationaal bindende overeenkomst tot regeling van de legaliteit en het gebruik van onbemande wapens, met maatregelen zoals een verbod op het gebruik van volledig autonome wapens, het beperken van de proliferatie van onbemande wapens en het introduceren van een regime van transparantie.

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M. Guidry & G. Wills, Future UAV Pilots: Are Contractors the Solution?, A.F. J. LOGISTICS, Winter 2004    90

M. Hakimi, To Condone or Condemn? Regional Enforcement Actions in the Absence of Security Council Authorization, 40 Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 643, 2007..................................................................... 28

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M. N. Schmitt, Unmanned Combat Aircraft Systems and International Humanitarian Law: Simplifying the oft benighted debate, 30 Boston University International Law Journal 595, 2012........................................ 38, 91

M. Ramsden, Targeted Killings and International Human Rights Law: The Case of Anwar Al-Awlaki, 16 Journal of Conflict & Security Law 385, July 2011....................................................................................................... 82

M. Sterio, The United States’ use of drone in the War on Terror: The Illegality of Targeted Killings under International Law, 45 Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law 197, 2012,.............................................. 90

M. W. Lewis, Drones and the Boundaries of the Battlefield, 47 Texas International Law Journal 293, 2012,               37

Mary Ellen O'Connell, Lawful Self-Defense to Terrorism, 63 University of Pittsburgh Law Review 889, 2002             23

N. E. Sharkey, The Evitability of Autonomous Robot Warfare, International Review of the Red Cross, Volume 94 Number 886, Summer 2012.............................................................................................................. 48, 96

N. Erakat, Operation Cast Lead: The exclusive quest for self-defense under international law, 36 Rutgers Law Record 164, 2009........................................................................................................................................ 17

N. Lubell, Challenges in applying human rights law to armed conflict, International Review of the Red Cross, Volume 87 Number 860, December 2005.............................................................................................. 79, 80

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N. Neuman, Applying the Rule of Proportionality: Force Protection and Cumulative Assessment in International Law and Morality, 7 Yearbook of International Law 79, December 2004.................................................. 68

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P. Lin, G. Bekey, and K. Abney, Autonomous Military Robotics: Risk, Ethics, and Design, December 20,   93

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R. C. Arkin, Governing Lethal Behavior: Embedding Ethics in a Hybrid Deliberative/Reactive Robot Architecture, Technical Report GIT-GVU-07-11............................................................................................................. 72

R. C. Arkin, The Case for Ethical Autonomy in Unmanned Systems, Journal of Military Ethics, Volume 9 Number 4, 2010   97

R. D. Rosen, Drones and the U.S. Courts, 37 William Mitchell Law Review 5280, 2011...................... 92

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R. L. Williamson, Hard Law, Soft Law, and Non-Law in Multilateral Arms Control: Some Compliance Hypotheses, 4 Chicago Journal of International Law 59, 2003........................................................................................ 99

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R.S. Schöndorf, Extra-State Armed Conflicts: Is there a Need for a New Legal Regime?, 37 New York University Journal of International Law and Politics 1, 2004........................................................................................ 37

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S. Casey-Maslen, Pandora’s box? Drone strikes under jus ad bellum, jus in bello, and international human rights law, 94 International Review of the Red Cross, Volume 94 Number 886, Summer 2012................... passim

S. M. Norton, The United Nations Charter’s collective security framework in the twenty-first century: A case study of the United States’ use of force in Pakistan, 57 Loyola Law Review 157, Spring 2011.......................... 26

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S. Sivakumaran, Re-envisaging the international law of internal armed conflict, 2011, 22 European Journal of International Law 1....................................................................................................................................... 34

S. Vité, Typology of armed conflicts in international humanitarian law: legal concepts and actual situations, March 2009, International Review of the Red Cross, Volume 91 Number 873..................................... 35, 36, 37,

T. Coughlin, The future of robotic weaponry and the law of armed conflict: irreconcilable differences?, 17 University College London Jurisprudence Review, 67, 2011................................................................................... 15

T. Reinold, State weakness, irregular warfare, and the right to self-defense post-9/11, 105 American Journal of International Law 244, April 2011................................................................................................................... 27

T. Rock, Yesterday’s laws, tomorrow’s technology: The laws of war and unmanned warfare, 34 New York International Law Review 39, Summer 2011......................................................................................................... 91

W. C. Marra and S. K. McNeil, Understanding “The Loop”: Regulating the Next Generation of War Machines, 36 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 1139, Summer 2013............................................................... 16, 97

X, Commentary to the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977.............................................. 52

X, How is the Term "Armed Conflict" Defined in International Humanitarian Law?,  Opinion Paper of the International Committee for the Red Cross, March 2008.......................................................................... 34, 35

X, Living under drones: Death, Injury, and Trauma to Civilians From US Drone Practices in Pakistan, Stanford Law School and NYU School of Law, http://livingunderdrones.org, 2012........................................... 14, 18, 98

X, Losing Humanity: The Case against Killer Robots, Human Rights Watch, 2012...................... passim

United Nations Documents

Charter of the United Nations, 26 June 1945, Can TS 1945 No 7........................................... 19, 20, 22

Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation Among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, GA Res 2625, UNGAOR, 25th Session, Supp. No 28, UN Doc A/8082, (1970).    19

P. Alston, Study on targeted killings, Human Rights Council, Fourteenth Session, Agenda Point 3, 28 May 2010, A/HRC/14/24/Add.6.......................................................................................................... passim

Security Council Resolution 1368, UNSC, UN Doc S/RES/1368 (12 September 2001)................... 25, 26

Security Council Resolution 1373, UNSC, UN Doc S/RES/1373 (28 September 2001)................... 25, 26

Situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, UN Document A/61/470,.... 37

Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions, United Nations Commission on   17

UN General Assembly Resolution 3314 (XXIX), 14 December................................................... 22, 24

UN General Assembly, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10 December 1948, Resolution 217 A (III)                77, 81, 85

Miscellaneous

A. Qureshi, The 'Obama doctrine': kill, don't detain, The Guardian, April 11, 2010, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/apr/11/obama-n…............................................................................................................................................... 70

Amnesty International Livewire, Faulty Intelligence, Wanton Recklessness, or a Combination of the Two, February 1, 2009, http://livewire.amnesty.org/2009/02/02/faulty-intelligence-wanton-reckl…         17

C. Bruderlein, Manual on International Law Applicable to Air and Missile Warfare, Bern, May 15, 2009, p. 18 http://ihlresearch.org/amw/HPCR%20Manual.pdf................................................................... 71

D. Filkins, Operators of Drones Are Faulted in Afghan Deaths, New York Times, May 29, 2010, http:// www.nytimes.com/2010/05/30/world/asia/30drone.html................................................... 71, 90

D. S. Cloud, Civilian contractors playing key roles in U.S. drone operations, Los Angeles Times, December 29, 2011, http://articles.latimes.com/2011/dec/29/world/la-fg-drones-civilians-20…....................... 90

Department of Defense of the United States of America, Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, 8 November 2012, as amended through  15 august 2012, p. 327..................................... 10

H. Koh, Legal Adviser, U.S. Dep't of State, Address at Annual Meeting of American Society of International Law (Mar. 25, 2010), http://www.state.gov/s/l/releases/remarks/139119.htm.............................................. 26

H. W. Elliott, Prisoners of War, Crimes of War, http://www.crimesofwar.org/a-z-guide/prisoners-of-war/            65

Human Rights Watch, Precisely Wrong: Gaza Civilians Killed by Israeli Drone-Launched Missiles, June 2009, http:// www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/iopt0609web_0.pdf................................................. 17

Humane treatment of Taliban and Al Qaeda detainees, White House Memorandum, February 7, 2002 http://www.pegc.us/archive/White_House/bush_memo_20020207_ed.pdf........................... 39

I. Kershner, Israel Shoots Down Drone Possibly Sent by Hezbollah, The New York Times, April 25, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/26/world/middleeast/israel-downs-drone-p…          16

J. Bajoria, and Z. Laub, The Taliban in Afghanistan, Council on Foreign Relations, August 6, 2013, http://www.cfr.org/afghanistan/taliban-afghanistan/p10551................................................... 40

J. Burke, Think again: Al Qaeda,  Foreign Policy, No. 142, May 1, 2011, http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2004/05/01/think_again_al_qaeda.............................. 39

J. O. Brennan, The Efficacy and Ethics of U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy, Wilson Center, April 30, 2012, http://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/the-efficacy-and-ethics-us-counterter….... 97

J. S. Canning, A Concept of Operations for Armed Autonomous Systems: The difference between “Winning the War” and “Winning the Peace”, Power Point........................................................................................... 73

K. DeYoung and J. Warrick, Under Obama, more targeted killings than captures in counterterrorism efforts, The Washington Post, February 14, 2010, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/13/AR20100….................................................................................................................. 70

L. Panetta, Director's Remarks at the Pacific Council on International Policy, May 18, 2009, https://www.cia.gov/news-information/speeches-testimony/directors-remar…............................. 69

M. E. O’Connell, Rise of the Drones II: Examining the Legality of Unmanned Targeting: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, United States Congress, April 28, 2010, p. 25, http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2010_hr/drones2.pdf.......................................................... 69

M. Mazzetti, Rise of the Predators: A Secret Deal on Drones, Sealed in Blood, The New York Times, April 6, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/07/world/asia/origins-of-cias-not-so-sec…............................................................................................................. 91

M. Raddatz, Pentagon Confirms First Predator Drone Strike in Libya, ABC News, April 23, 2011, http://abcnews.go.com/International/pentagon-confirms-predator-drone-st….............................................................................................. 17, 41

Office of the Secretary of Defense of the United States of America, Unmanned Aircraft Systems Roadmap 2005-2030, 4 August 2005, p. 1..................................................................................................................... 10

P. Bergen and K. Tiedemann, The Year of the Drone: An Analysis of U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan, 2004 -2010, New American Foundation, February 24, 2010 http://www.newamerica.net/sites/newamerica.net/files/policydocs/bergent…. 68

Press Release, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pakistan, Drone Attacks Are a Violation of Pakistan's..... 26

Report of the International Law Commission to the General Assembly on the work of its second session, 5 June – 29 July 1950, Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifth session, Supplement Number 12 (A/1316, reproduced in Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 1950, vol. II, p. 374 – 378)................................................ 89

Robotic Systems Joint Project Office, Unmanned Ground Systems Roadmap, July 2011................ 12

T. Atlas, Pakistan Taliban’s No. 2 Commander Targeted by U.S. Drone, Bloomberg, May 30, 2013, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-29/pakistan-taliban-s-no-2-comman…     64

T. Shanker, Obama Sends Armed Drones to Help NATO in Libya War, New York Times, April 21, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/22/world/africa/22military.html?_r=0................................ 37

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Covert Drone War: Casualty estimates, http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/category/projects/drones/....................................... 18

United States Army Field Manual Number 7-21.13, The Soldier’s Guide, February 2004, http://armypubs.army.mil/doctrine/DR_pubs/DR_a/pdf/fm7_21x13.pdf................................. 96

United States Department of Defense, Autonomy in Weapon Systems, Directive 3000.09, November 2, 2012, http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/300009p.pdf.................................................. 15

United States Department of Navy, The Navy Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) Master Plan, 23 July 2007            12

United States Department of Navy, The Navy Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) Master Plan, 9 November 2004,.        13

X, Assassination by remote control, The Economist, November 5, 2002, http://www.economist.com/node/1427862        17

X,  US flies drones from Ethiopia to fight Somali militants, BBC, October 28, 2011, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15488804........................................................................................................................ 29

X, ‘International humanitarian law and the challenges of contemporary armed conflicts’, ICRC Report 31IC/11/5.1.2, 31th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, 28 November – 1 December 2011 39

X, 7 October 2001: US launches air strikes against Taliban, in BBC, On this day, 7 October 2001,..... 40

X, Afghanistan Taliban 'using human shields' – general, BBC February 17, 2010, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8519507.stm............................................................... 64

X, Final Report on Definition of Terms in the 1982 LOS Convention, Proceedings of the American Branch of the International Law Association, Vol. 2009-2010............................................................................................... 50

X, International Committee of the Red Cross, http://www.icrc.org/applic/ihl/ihl.nsf/Treaty.xsp?action=openDocument&d….......................... 63

X, International humanitarian law and the challenges of contemporary armed conflicts, ICRC Report 31IC/11/5.1.2, 31th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, 28 November – 1 December 2011 39

X, Israel 'shoots down Lebanon drone', BBC, April 25, 2013............................................................ 30

X, Objectives of the MTCR, Missile Technology Control Regime, http://www.mtcr.info/english/objectives.html  48

X, Somalia's al-Shabab leader Aweys 'not surrendering', BBC, June 28, 2013, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-23095129................................................................................................................................. 79

X, The Taliban are forced out of Afghanistan, BBC, http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/events/the_taliban_are_forced_out_of_afgha….............. 40

X, U.S. Air Strikes in Pakistan Called 'Very Effective’, CCN, May 18, 2009, http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/05/18/cia.pakistan.airstrikes/....................................... 69

X, UN inquiry into US drone strikes prompts cautious optimism, The Guardian, January 24, 2013, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jan/24/un-announces-drone-inquiry… 56

X, Unmanned Aerial Warfare: Flight of the drones:  Why the future of air power belongs to unmanned systems?, The Economist, October 8, 2011...................................................................................................... 18

X, US admits using drones over Iraq, BBC, October 25, 2002, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/middle_east/2361745.stm............................................................................................................................................... 17

X, War Crimes in Kinsingani: The Response of Rwandan-Backed Rebels to the May 2002 Mutiny, Human Rights Watch, August 2002, http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/DRC0802.pdf............................. 37

X, Who are the Taliban?, BBC, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11451718............... 65

Universiteit of Hogeschool
Master of Laws in de Rechten
Publicatiejaar
2013
Kernwoorden
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