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Document Type

Article

Abstract

Autonomous Weapon Systems (“AWS”) present novel challenges for the laws of war. But the voluminous literature on the use of AWS during war – i.e., under the jus in bello framework – almost entirely ignores the challenges that AWS pose for jus ad bellum. This Note is among the first legal works to systematically analyze the question of when AWS may transition from peace to violence; that is, from crisis to war. Specifically, it asks when an autonomous weapon system may lawfully use force in anticipatory self-defense. This Note argues that with the right rules, AWS may reduce the risk of jus ad bellum violations and dampen escalation, improving compliance with international law and potentially saving lives.

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