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Bonnie Docherty

  • Biden Administration Rejects Calls for Ban on “Killer Robots”

    December 3, 2021

    The Biden administration on Thursday rejected demands for a binding international agreement banning or tightly regulating the use of so-called killer robots, autonomous weapons that campaigners fear will make war more deadly and entrench a global norm of “digital dehumanization.” ... Bonnie Docherty, senior arms researcher at Human Rights Watch, said Wednesday that “much opposition to killer robots reflects moral repulsion to the idea of machines making life-and-death decisions. “A new treaty would fill the gap in international treaty law and protect the principles of humanity and dictates of public conscience in the face of emerging weapons technology,” Docherty argued.

  • Israeli firm unveils armed robot to patrol volatile borders

    September 13, 2021

    An Israeli defense contractor on Monday unveiled a remote-controlled armed robot it says can patrol battle zones, track infiltrators and open fire. The unmanned vehicle is the latest addition to the world of drone technology, which is rapidly reshaping the modern battlefield....Bonnie Docherty, a senior researcher from the arms division of Human Rights Watch, said such weapons are worrisome because they can’t be trusted to distinguish between combatants and civilians or make proper calls about the harm attacks may do to nearby civilians. “Machines cannot understand the value of human life, which in essence undermines human dignity and violates human rights laws,” Docherty said. In a 2012 report, Docherty, a lecturer at Harvard Law School, called for fully automated weapons to be banned by international law.

  • Nicolette Waldman ’13

    Trusted to listen

    December 28, 2020

    After her first interview in Afghanistan, Nicolette Waldman ’13 realized she had found the career she was meant to pursue.

  • A woman looks at fire and smoke from oil wells set ablaze

    Confronting conflict pollution

    September 30, 2020

    A new report from the HLS International Human Rights Clinic and the Conflict and Environment Observatory establishes a new framework for addressing human harm resulting from the environmental consequences of conflict.

  • New Effort to Curb Explosive Weapons

    November 18, 2019

    Governments should make a commitment to protect civilians from the harmful impacts of explosive weapons used in towns and cities during conflicts, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today at a diplomatic conference in Geneva. The 23-page report, “A Commitment to Civilians: Precedent for a Political Declaration on Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas,” co-published by Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic, lays out the components of a new political declaration on explosive weapons, bolstering its case with precedent from existing declarations. ... “We should not look away from today’s victims of conflict, who are all too often civilians living in towns and cities that are under attack from bombs, rockets, artillery shells, and other explosive weapons,” said Bonnie Docherty, senior arms researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Military forces should avoid using explosive weapons in populated areas due to the unacceptable harm they often cause.”

  • A living witness to nuclear dystopia

    October 10, 2019

    First came a flash. Thirteen-year-old Setsuko Nakamura felt as if she were drifting skyward. And then darkness. Seventy-four years later Setsuko still remembers the moment of detonation after the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the first of two exploded over the island nation, a deployment that proved so horrendous the weapons have never been used since. “That very morning I was at the military headquarters, not at the school,” she told a rapt audience at Harvard Law School on Tuesday as part of the University’s Worldwide Week. Instead of being in class on Aug. 6, 1945, Setsuko was reporting for her first day of work, as one of the thousands of students the government mobilized to provide cheap labor during the wartime shortage. ... “The eyewitness accounts of Setsuko and other survivors provide a vivid reminder of the human consequences of nuclear weapons,” said Bonnie Docherty, associate director of Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection and lecturer on law at the Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic. During negotiations for the U.N. treaty, the clinic provided legal advice and advocacy support to ICAN.

  • A living witness to nuclear dystopia

    October 10, 2019

    Seventy-four years later Setsuko Thurlow still remembers the moment of detonation after the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the first of two exploded over the island nation, a deployment that proved so horrendous the weapons have never been used since.

  • Bonnie Docherty

    In Q&A, Bonnie Docherty discusses humanitarian disarmament

    October 9, 2019

    Bonnie Docherty ’01, associate director the Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection Initiative (ACCPI) at Harvard Law School, discusses humanitarian disarmament, and a recent discussion with Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow.

  • Gallery: From the atomic bomb to the Nobel Peace Prize

    October 4, 2019

    Photo exhibit traces the history of nuclear weapons from the devastation of early use and testing to the current global effort to eliminate them.

  • Paras Shah headshot

    Paras Shah ’19, fostering inclusion and creativity in human rights

    August 29, 2019

    In his work with Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic and beyond, Paras Shah '19 has always centered his approach to human rights on inclusion.

  • Use of ‘killer robots’ in wars would breach law, say campaigners

    August 27, 2018

    ...In a new report published jointly by Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic, the organisations have stated that fully autonomous weapons would violate the Martens Clause – a well established provision of international humanitarian law...“Permitting the development and use of killer robots would undermine established moral and legal standards,” said Bonnie Docherty, senior arms researcher at Human Rights Watch, which coordinates the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. “Countries should work together to preemptively ban these weapons systems before they proliferate around the world.

  • Ban ‘killer robots’ to protect fundamental moral and legal principles

    August 21, 2018

    A conversation with Bonnie Docherty. When drafting a treaty on the laws of war at the end of the 19th century, diplomats could not foresee the future of weapons development. But they did adopt a legal and moral standard for judging new technology not covered by existing treaty language. This standard, known as the Martens Clause, has survived generations of international humanitarian law and gained renewed relevance in a world where autonomous weapons are on the brink of making their own determinations about whom to shoot and when. The Martens Clause calls on countries not to use weapons that depart “from the principles of humanity and from the dictates of public conscience.”

  • Morality in the Machines 6

    Morality in the Machines

    June 26, 2018

    Researchers at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society are collaborating with MIT scholars to study driverless cars, social media feeds, and criminal justice algorithms, to make sure openness and ethics inform artificial intelligence.

  • Growing Movement of Scientists Pushes for Ban on Killer Robots

    April 19, 2018

    ...While fully autonomous weapons — the technical term for killer robots — aren't quite yet a reality, the rapid advance of robotics and artificial intelligence raises the specter of armies someday soon having tanks and aircraft capable of attacking without a human at the controls...But outlawing killer robots internationally may prove difficult. Bonnie Docherty, senior arms researcher at Human Rights Watch and associate director of armed conflict and civilian protection at Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic, says in an email that while most of the countries at the UN conference are concerned about autonomous weapons, there's not yet consensus support for a legally-binding international ban.

  • Humanitarian Disarmament: The Way Ahead 1

    Humanitarian Disarmament: The Way Ahead

    March 21, 2018

    Earlier this month, about two dozen international experts gathered for “Humanitarian Disarmament: The Way Ahead,” the inaugural conference of the Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection Initiative (ACCPI) at Harvard Law School.

  • One win against weapons could fuel another

    March 6, 2018

    When the movement began in 1992, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines was considered quixotic, its proponents unrealistically idealistic, its efforts doomed to fail. Twenty-five years and one Nobel Peace Prize later, more than 180 countries have signed its 1997 treaty, agreeing not only to avoid using the weapons but to help remove them from areas where they have been abandoned and remain a danger to life, limbs, and livelihoods...“Everybody said it was impossible to do,” said Goose, looking back at the long road to the 1997 landmine treaty. “After we finally did it, people said, ‘Oh, that wasn’t that hard. It was a one-off. Circumstances allowed that to happen.’” They also, he reported, said its success could not be replicated. Monday’s discussion was designed to prove that false. Indeed, this first public event of Humanitarian Disarmament: The Way Ahead (moderated by Bonnie Docherty, associate director of Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection at Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic) started off by outlining the similarities — and the successes — of other recent campaigns.

  • Basking in that Oslo glow 1

    Basking in that Oslo glow

    January 17, 2018

    2017 was a year of notable accomplishments for Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC), and for Bonnie Docherty '01, associate director of Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection and lecturer on law at HLS.

  • Rise of the machines: Super intelligent robots could ‘spell the end of the human race’

    December 14, 2017

    Artificial intelligence is beginning to transform society, from babysitting children to self-driving cars. But, many scientists, including Professor Stephen Hawking, argue it may only be a matter of time before they gain consciousness and destroy mankind like something out of science fiction... But, a report by Human Rights Watch and the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic has called for humans to remain in control of weapons at a time of rapid advancement. Senior arms division researcher at Human Rights Watch, Bonnie Docherty, said: "Machines have long served as instruments of war, but historically humans have directed how they are used."

  • Artificially intelligent robots could soon gain consciousness and rebel against humans to ‘ELIMINATE us’, scientist warns

    December 13, 2017

    Forget about today's modest incremental advances in artificial intelligence, such as the increasing abilities of cars to drive themselves. Waiting in the wings might be a groundbreaking development: a machine that is aware of itself and its surroundings, and that could take in and process massive amounts of data in real time...'Machines have long served as instruments of war, but historically humans have directed how they are used,' said Bonnie Docherty, senior arms division researcher at Human Rights Watch, in a statement. 'Now there is a real threat that humans would relinquish their control and delegate life-and-death decisions to machines.'

  • Incendiary Weapons: New Use Shows Need for Stronger Law

    November 20, 2017

    Countries should respond to reports of new use of incendiary weapons in Syria by working to strengthen the international law governing these exceptionally cruel weapons, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today...It urges countries at a UN disarmament meeting, held in Geneva from November 22 to 24, 2017, to initiate a review of Protocol III of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). This protocol, which regulates incendiary weapons, has failed to prevent their ongoing use, endangering civilians. “Countries should react to the threat posed by incendiary weapons by closing the loopholes in outdated international law,” said Bonnie Docherty, senior arms researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Stronger law would mean stronger protections for civilians.”...“Existing law on incendiary weapons is a legacy of the US war in Vietnam and a Cold War compromise,” said Docherty, who is also the associate director of armed conflict and civilian protection at Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic, which co-published the report. “But the political and military landscape has changed, and it is time for the law to reflect current problems.”

  • The Robots Are Coming

    November 13, 2017

    ...We may have helped create the AI monster here in the Hub, but it turns out we’re also the ones fighting to keep it on a leash, with a Justice League of passionate geeks working furiously to ensure the technology is used for the public good...Now [Bonnie] Docherty has turned her attention to another class of weapons that could endanger civilians—fully autonomous ones, powered by AI. She and a host of ethicists, advocates, and legal scholars worry about the possibility of a future in which wars involve robots that might have trouble discriminating between ordinary people and combatants—or be vulnerable to misuse by rogue regimes. “Fully autonomous weapons would face major obstacles in complying with existing international law,” Docherty explains, “and would cross a moral red line by making life-and-death decisions on the battlefield.”...[Chris] Bavitz, the managing director of Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic, and his colleagues are assembling what they hope will be the definitive database of judicial risk-assessment products. “We are trying to create a one-stop-shopping resource,” Bavitz explains from his immaculate office overlooking Massachusetts Avenue. “Here are the products, here is what they purport to do, here are jurisdictions that use them, and here is the extent to which they make algorithms available for review.”

  • Beyond the Nobel Peace Prize

    November 1, 2017

    When a Norwegian committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) for its work behind a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, 3,500 miles away six people at Harvard cheered loudly. They had reason to celebrate. Bonnie Docherty, associate director of armed conflict and civilian protection, and clinical instructor Anna Crowe, who teach at the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School (HLS), and four law students had taken part in the treaty negotiations spearheaded by ICAN, a Geneva-based international coalition of organizations from more than 100 countries...“The negotiations were timely and urgent,” said Docherty. “It reminded the world of the need to take tangible steps for nuclear disarmament. The treaty banning nuclear weapons will make a real difference in the world.”

  • Law School Team Helps Nuclear Disarmament Campaign Win Nobel Prize

    October 12, 2017

    A team at the Law School chipped in on the work of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, providing legal advice as the group negotiated an unprecedented disarmament treaty. The Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic joined ICAN in its work to pass a United Nations treaty in July asking countries to abolish their nuclear weapon programs and supplies...The IHRC group included four Law School students—Molly Doggett, Alice L.M. Osman, Carina M. Bentata Gryting, and Lan Mei—as well as Anna Crowe, an instructor at the clinic and Bonnie Docherty, a lecturer at the Law School. “The treaty is a major step and a major step towards nuclear disarmament. It is not the end itself so we’d love to have nuclear states on board, but we’re not surprised and not concerned that they’re not on board,” Crowe said.

  • Harvard Law team helped group that won the Nobel Peace Prize

    October 10, 2017

    A small group from Harvard Law School was basking in a bit of reflected Nobel Peace Prize glow on Friday. The team of six people helped the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which won the prize, by providing legal advice as the organization participated in negotiations for the first treaty to abolish nuclear weapons, one of the Harvard group’s leaders said. Bonnie Docherty, a lecturer at the school and an associate director of the school’s International Human Rights Clinic, said Friday afternoon that she and her colleague, Anna Crowe, headed a group of four law students in assisting ICAN, a Geneva-based coalition of disarmament activists.

  • IHRC's partner in negotiations of Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty wins Nobel Peace Prize 2

    IHRC’s partner in negotiations of Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty wins Nobel Peace Prize

    October 6, 2017

    The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), with which Harvard's International Human Rights Clinic collaborated during the negotiations of a nuclear weapon ban treaty, received the Nobel Peace Prize today. IHRC joined ICAN and UK-based disarmament organization Article 36 in the efforts for the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. 

  • Human Rights Watch Raises Concerns Over Autonomous Weapons (audio)

    August 31, 2017

    NPR's Scott Simon talks to Bonnie Docherty, senior arms researcher at Human Rights Watch, about the group's call for a pre-emptive ban on fully autonomous weapons.

  • When a Hobby Drone Becomes a Military Sniper

    August 22, 2017

    There's a new kind of killer drone. Called TIKAD, it isn't like any lethal drones you're seen before. Because unlike the effective-yet-cumbersome MQ-9 Reapers, these multicopters can carry a sniper rifle, a grenade launcher, or a machine gun—the inevitable convergence of hobby drones and military weapons...Bonnie Docherty, a lecturer on law at Harvard Law School and Senior Researcher in the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch, is concerned that the TIKAD represents a step towards autonomous weapons which choose their own targets without any human understanding of the legal, moral, or social context. The UN is moving toward an agreement to limit such weapons, but at its own pace. "International law is slow," says Docherty. "Technology sometimes outpaces it."

  • A Disarming Leader: Docherty recognized for contributions to human rights 2

    A Disarming Leader: Docherty recognized for contributions to human rights

    July 19, 2017

    Over the course of her career, as Bonnie Docherty ’01 has emerged as an international expert on civilian protection in armed conflict, she has also mentored scores of clinical students, from field researchers in conflict zones to advocates inside the halls of the U.N. in Geneva.

  • Nuclear powers rebuked as 122 nations adopt U.N. ban

    July 11, 2017

    While Friday's meeting between the leaders of the two biggest nuclear powers drew world attention, representatives from 122 other countries did something truly historic that barely registered a blip: They negotiated the first-ever treaty outlawing atomic bombs...Bonnie Docherty, an international human rights lawyer at Harvard Law School who was also in attendance, contended that the ban — even without the participation of nuclear weapons states — could “create a norm” that nuclear weapons are immoral and illegal and “set a positive standard that I think will influence disarmament law.”

  • Another ‘Angry Granny’ on Climate Justice

    November 18, 2016

    In a recent conversation at HLS with Dean Martha Minow, Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and U.N. special envoy on El Niño and climate change, told the story of how she came to be an “Angry Granny” on the topic of climate change, starting with her discussions with people in the most deeply affected communities.

  • Clinic highlights human rights costs of South African gold mining

    October 19, 2016

    South Africa has failed to meet its human rights obligations to address the environmental and health effects of gold mining in and around Johannesburg, the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) said in a new report.

  • Thrown on the slag heap

    October 13, 2016

    Acid water, dust, air pollution, destruction of arable land and intimidation of environmental activists are just some of the concerns raised in two damning reports released this week, one of them a submission to the UN Human Rights Council...The submission coincides with a second equally damning report, also released yesterday, by the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic. This report claims South Africa has "failed to meet its human rights obligations to address the environmental and health effects of gold mining in Johannesburg."...Bonnie Docherty, senior clinical instructor at UNHRC and the report's lead author, said South Africa was failing to fulfil human rights commitments made when apartheid ended. "The government should act immediately to address the on-going threats from gold mining, and it should develop a more complete solution to prevent future harm," Docherty said.

  • Losing Control: The Dangers of Killer Robots

    June 16, 2016

    An op-ed by Bonnie Docherty: New technology could lead humans to relinquish control over decisions to use lethal force. As artificial intelligence advances, the possibility that machines could independently select and fire on targets is fast approaching. Fully autonomous weapons, also known as “killer robots,” are quickly moving from the realm of science fiction toward reality.

  • Weighing The Good And The Bad Of Autonomous Killer Robots In Battle

    April 29, 2016

    ...It doesn't take much imagination to conjure a future in which a swarm of those robots are used on a battlefield. And if that sounds like science fiction, it's not...Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic added to the urgency of the meeting by issuing a report calling for a complete ban on autonomous killer robots. Bonnie Docherty, who teaches at Harvard Law School and was the lead author of the report, says the technology must be stopped before humanity crosses what she calls a "moral threshold." "[Lethal autonomous robots] have been called the third revolution of warfare after gunpowder and nuclear weapons," she says. "They would completely alter the way wars are fought in ways we probably can't even imagine."

  • Human Rights Clinic report calls for meaningful human control of weapons systems

    April 18, 2016

    In a report issued last week, the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic and Human Rights Watch call for countries to retain meaningful human control over weapons systems and ban fully autonomous weapons, also known as 'killer robots.'

  • Why We Need to Ban Killer Robots

    April 15, 2016

    An op-ed by Bonnie Docherty. Dozens of countries are holding a multilateral disarmament conference at the United Nations in Geneva today to discuss a new and disturbing threat to humanity. Military powers from across the world are developing technology that could lead to the creation of fully autonomous weapons—that is, weapons that would select targets and fire without “meaningful human control.” The diplomats in Geneva need to decide how to deal with these “killer robots” in international law before it is too late.

  • New Report Calls for Ban on ‘Killer Robots’ Amid UN Meeting

    April 12, 2016

    Technology allowing a pre-programmed robot to shoot to kill, or a tank to fire at a target with no human involvement, is only years away, experts say. A new report called Monday for a ban on such "killer robots."..."Machines have long served as instruments of war, but historically humans have directed how they are used," said Bonnie Docherty, senior arms division researcher at Human Rights Watch, in a statement. "Now there is a real threat that humans would relinquish their control and delegate life-and-death decisions to machines."

  • Arms Control Groups Urge Human Control of Robot Weaponry

    April 12, 2016

    Two international arms control groups on Monday issued a report that called for maintaining human control over a new generation of weapons that are increasingly capable of targeting and attacking without the involvement of people. The report, which came from Human Rights Watch and the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic at the opening of a weeklong United Nations meeting on autonomous weapons in Geneva, potentially challenges an emerging United States military strategy that will count on technology advantages and increasingly depend on weapons systems that blend humans and machines...The ability to recall a weapon may be a crucial point in any ban on autonomous weapons, said Bonnie Docherty, the author of the report and a lecturer on law and senior clinical instructor at the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School. Weapons specialists said the exact capabilities of systems like L.R.A.S.M. are often protected as classified information. “We urge states to provide more information on specific technology so the international community can better judge what type and level of control should be required,” Ms. Docherty said.

  • At HLS symposium, military and academic leaders explain legal and cultural issues in counterterror operations

    March 11, 2016

    Harvard Law School hosted the first-ever Legal, Cultural and Strategic Issues in Counterterror Operations Symposium bringing together military officers from the 3rd Legal Operations Detachment and academic scholars whose work focuses on areas of Islamic and human rights law as well as on cultural and international security issues.

  • Fighting for disarmament

    January 3, 2016

    After researching the devastating humanitarian effects of the deadly cluster munitions used in Afghanistan in 2002, Bonnie Docherty joined a worldwide campaign to eliminate them. Six years after she started her probe, cluster bombs were banned. Her investigation on the use of cluster munitions in Afghanistan, and later in Iraq and Lebanon, was highly influential in a 2008 treaty signed by 117 countries banning these weapons. For Docherty, a lecturer on law and a senior instructor at the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School, the battle to protect civilians from unnecessary harm continues. Last month, Docherty traveled to Geneva to advocate for stronger regulations on incendiary devices, which she calls “exceptionally cruel weapons” that have been used in Syria, Libya, and Ukraine.

  • Fighting for disarmament: Docherty calls for stronger regulation of incendiary weapons

    January 2, 2016

    For Bonnie Docherty, a lecturer on law and a senior instructor at the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School, the battle to protect civilians from suffering caused by armed conflicts continues.

  • Unrivaled Cruelty: The Horror of Incendiary Weapons and Need for Stronger Law

    December 18, 2015

    An op-ed by Bonnie Docherty: Incendiary weapons inflict almost unrivaled cruelty on their victims. Photos taken after an incendiary weapon attack on a Syrian school show the charred bodies of children, who must have experienced unimaginable agony. The weapons cause excruciatingly painful burns, and treatment for survivors requires sloughing off dead skin, which has been likened to being flayed alive. While individuals often react to accounts of such suffering with horror, government efforts to minimize the harm from these weapons by strengthening international law have been unacceptably slow. ...Over the past two years Human Rights Watch has documented new use of incendiary weapons in Syria and Ukraine, and it is investigating allegations of use in Libya and Yemen in 2015. A report [PDF] recently released by Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic provides evidence of these attacks, along with a five-year review of developments on the issue and recommendations for next steps.

  • Killer robots: Activists call for negotiations on banning autonomous weapons to be stepped up

    November 10, 2015

    A leading human rights body is calling for all governments to step up formal international negotiations in order to pre-emptively ban killer robots, as the annual UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) debates use of autonomous weapons for the third year in a row. Human Rights Watch has published a report urging nations to turn the informal experts meetings that have been held over the past two years at the CCW conference into formal negotiations in order to ban the technology before too much investment is put into it...I think there's a recognition amongst member nations that this is a problem, that these autonomous weapons could be developed in years, not decades. There's also diplomatic pressure as next year there's the fifth year review conference. Every five years this review is held at the CCW, and it is often used to initiate formal negotiations and adopt new protocols," Bonnie Docherty, a senior researcher in the Arms Division at Human Rights Watch, told IBTimes UK...The more states invest in this technology, the less likely they will be to give it up," said Docherty, who also lectures in international human rights law at Harvard University.

  • Killer Robots and the Laws of Man: Who’s to Blame for Mission Malfunction?

    June 29, 2015

    An op-ed by Bonnie Docherty:  Such fully autonomous weapons, or “killer robots,” are under development in several countries. But the robots’ use of force would undermine the fundamental legal and moral principle that people should be held responsible for their wrongdoing. Countries and nongovernmental groups around the world have been working for two years now to figure out how to deal with these weapons before they are in production. In April, representatives from 90 countries met at the United Nations in Geneva for their second round of talks on what to do about “lethal autonomous weapons systems.”

  • Killer Robots and the Laws of Man: Who’s to Blame for Mission Malfunction?

    May 29, 2015

    An op-ed by Bonnie Docherty. What would happen if countries took a step beyond remote-controlled drones and used weapons that targeted and killed people on their own, without any human intervention? Who would be responsible if one of these weapons made a fatal mistake, and who could be punished? The answer is no one. Such fully autonomous weapons, or “killer robots,” are under development in several countries. But the robots’ use of force would undermine the fundamental legal and moral principle that people should be held responsible for their wrongdoing.

  • New publication examines different approaches to assisting victims of armed conflict

    May 13, 2015

    Acknowledge, Amend, Assist: Addressing Civilian Harm Caused by Armed Conflict and Armed Violence, a 28-page report released this week by Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program and Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), seeks to advance understanding and promote collaboration among leaders in the field.

  • Human Rights Clinic releases report on accountability for killer robots

    April 15, 2015

    The International Human Rights Clinic and Human Rights Watch recently released 'Mind the Gap: The Lack of Accountability for Killer Robots,' a 38-page report that details significant hurdles to assigning personal accountability for the actions of fully autonomous weapons under both criminal and civil law.