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Unravelling organisational power dynamics: towards a theory of accountability for crimes triggered by lethal autonomous weapon systems

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Tanya Krupiy


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The advent of lethal autonomous weapon systems creates a necessity for developing a framework to hold individuals involved in designing, manufacturing and procuring these technologies accountable when such systems perform in an unintended manner and trigger an international crime as a result. Current legal doctrines, such as the doctrine of command responsibility, are inadequate to regulate the context of lethal autonomous weapon systems. The article develops a test for attribution to hold accountable non-state actors, ranging from a corporation’s employees to members of terrorist groups, who are involved in designing and manufacturing lethal autonomous weapon systems. Additionally, it proposes a test for locating accountability with procurement officials and operators. In order to develop an accountability framework for the robotic context, the lens of power is utilised to examine the nature of the interface between the government procurement officials, individuals working for an organisation involved in designing the lethal autonomous weapon system, the operator and the lethal autonomous weapon system. Subsequently, theories about the mechanism through which power is exercised are applied to understand the nature of the interactions between individuals involved in designing and manufacturing a lethal autonomous weapon system. The article draws on the fields of management theory, philosophy and anthropology to map the complexity of power dynamics present within organisations/groups as well as between organisations/groups.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Krupiy T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Loyola University Chicago International Law Review

Year: 2017

Volume: 15

Issue: 1

Pages: 1-61

Print publication date: 01/09/2017

Online publication date: 01/09/2017

Acceptance date: 01/08/2016

ISSN (print): 1558-9226

ISSN (electronic): 1943-1279

Publisher: Loyola University Chicago