Setting and Objectives
The International Panel on the Regulation of Autonomous Weapons (iPRAW) was founded in March 2017. iPRAW is an independent group of experts from different nation states and scientific backgrounds. The panel will complete its work by the end of 2019.
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 Certain Conventional Weapons) 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 the diversity 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 will work on possible approaches to a regulation of LAWS. The panel’s working session will cover the following topics
- requirements for human control over the use of force
- Verification of a potential regulation of LAWS
- Proliferation and export control
iPRAW will publish a respective report aimed at informing the CCW process.
A conference in Brussels (autumn 2019) will accompany the panel’s work, enabling a debate with EU, NATO and other relevant actors.
The participants commit themselves to actively participate in and contribute to the meeting and the scientific dialogue related to iPRAW’s activities. Papers with agreed upon recommendations on relevant issues will be drafted and 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 as well as all kinds of activities on social media 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.
Berlin, March 22nd, 2019
 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, concluded October 1980, entered into force December 1983.
 See High Contracting Parties to the CCW (November 2018), Consideration and Adoption of the Final Report (CCW/MSP/2018/11), <https://www.unog.ch/80256EDD006B8954/(httpAssets)/55D2856960D0468CC12583830036E878/$file/CCW_MSP_2018_11.pdf>, p. 5.
 In this context approaches to regulations are construed broadly and can include application of existing international law as well as new legal instruments.