Setting and Objectives
The International Panel on the Regulation of Autonomous Weapons (iPRAW) was founded in March 2017 and will run until June 2022. iPRAW is an independent group of experts from different nation states and scientific backgrounds.
The mission of iPRAW is to provide an independent source of information and consultation to the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) within the framework of the United Nations CCW (Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects) during the ongoing process toward a possible future regulation of LAWS (lethal autonomous weapon systems). This work includes, but is not limited to, the provision of expertise on the military, technical, legal, and ethical basis for practical and achievable policy initiatives regarding LAWS. The mandate of the CCW’s open-ended GGE on LAWS will guide the work of iPRAW.
iPRAW seeks to prepare, support, and foster a frank and productive exchange among participants, culminating in perspectives on working definitions and recommendations on a potential regulation of LAWS for the CCW GGE. iPRAW is independent from the GGE and does not function in any official capacity regarding the CCW.
Funding, Organization, and Participants
iPRAW is financially supported by the German Federal Foreign Office. The views and findings of iPRAW do not reflect the official positions of the German government or any other government. Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik – The German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) is organizing the panel. The participants have been selected on the basis of their expertise and the perspectives they bring from a wide range of professional and regional contexts. iPRAW represents a broad variety of views on the topic of autonomy in weapon systems. Its members have backgrounds in natural science, engineering, law, ethics, political science, and military operational analysis.
The panel acknowledges that LAWS may pose a number of considerable legal, ethical and operational challenges and that they might change the security environment in a fundamental way. The full potential of these weapon systems is yet unknown and a mutually agreed definition on LAWS does not exist.
In order to support the CCW GGE process, iPRAW works on approaches towards a potential regulation of LAWS. In this context approaches to regulations are construed broadly and can include both the application of existing international law as well as new legal instruments. This includes various issues, like requirements for human control over the use of force.
The participants commit themselves to actively engage in and contribute to the meetings and the scientific dialogue related to iPRAW’s activities. Papers with agreed upon recommendations on relevant issues will be published via the project’s website (www.ipraw.org).
Communication and Publication
The participants discuss under the Chatham House Rule: participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed. As a matter of confidentiality, photographs, video or audio recordings are not allowed during iPRAW meetings.
The results of the panel discussions will be published. iPRAW members will strive to reach consensus on their recommendations and to reflect that in the panel’s publications. Media inquiries with regard to official iPRAW positions should be directed to the steering group. Apart from that, the panel members are free to talk about their personal views on participation and the topics of the panel.