FAIA: United Nations Special Rapporteur, Christof Heyns

Monday, October 21, 2013 - 4:15pm
Yale Law School See map
127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06520
Event description: 

 Please join us for an afternoon talk with  UN Special Rapporteur, Christof Heyns, on lethal autonomous robots.  Coffee and snacks will be served.

Title:  Lethal Autonomous Robots: the Legal Implications and the Path Forward

The move towards greater autonomy in weapons systems raises a range of ethical and legal questions. Some of these questions were dealt with by Christof Heyns as United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions in his report to the UN Human Rights Council in May of this year (A/HRC/23/47).  In the report he called for a moratorium on the use of such systems, pending the appointment of a High Level Panel tasked with investigating the implications of such a development.

During the presentation he will touch on the following issues:

1) Will Lethal Autonomous Robots (LARs) make it easier to go to war, and to stay at war?

2) Can LARs meet the requirements of the law of armed conflict?

3) The legal responsibility for LARs

4) The use of LARs outside armed conflict

5) The question whether states without LARs are placed at an unacceptable disadvantage

6) Giving robots the power over life and death.


Bio: Christof Heyns (MA LLB University of Pretoria; LLM Yale Law School; PhD University of the Witwatersrand) is Professor of Human Rights Law and Co-director of the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa at the University of Pretoria. He was appointed as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions in August 2010.

Professor Heyns is an adjunct professor at the Washington College of Law of the American University in Washington DC, USA, and the George Washington University Law School, and a Visiting Fellow at Kellog College at Oxford University, UK where he teaches human rights law. During the first part of 2012 he was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School.

He is a former Director of the Centre for Human Rights in the Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, as well as former Dean of that Faculty. He has published widely in the field of international human rights law.

Co-sponsored by: FAIA (Foreign Affairs in the Internet Age), The Technology & Ethics Study Group of the Interdisciplinary Center for BioEthics and the Yale Law School National Security Group and supported by the Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fund at Yale Law School.






Foreign Affairs in the Internet Age