Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) are being described as the next revolution in military affairs, similar to the introduction of gun powder and nuclear weapons in the past. LAWS would indeed fundamentally change the nature of war and have a strong bearing on regional and international peace and security.
As stated by my delegation on numerous occasions, the introduction of LAWS does not only pose legal, ethical, moral and technical challenges, but also carries serious military and security dimensions with highly destabilizing effects. States that are in possession of LAWS are bound to perceive a distinct military advantage, undeterred by the loss of its soldiers and citizens on the battlefield. This would lower the threshold for going to war. LAWS would also seem more attractive for use in anonymous and clandestine operations including targeted killings in the territory of other states.
The introduction of LAWS would affect progress on general and complete disarmament, since States possessing WMD capabilities would be reluctant to give them up, while others would feel encouraged to acquire them. It could also lead to a new and costly arms race involving autonomous weapons.
The military and security dimensions of LAWS need to be appropriately addressed in the GGE and beyond.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.