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Intervention by Estonia delivered at the 2017 Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) at the way ahead panel


2017 Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS)

Intervention by ESTONIA


Item 5: General exchange of views : The way ahead

Geneva, 16 November 2017


Thank you, Mr Chairman!

Estonia has carefully considered the views expressed during this meeting by the distinguished representative of states and civil society organisations. We thank all of the participants for their thoughtful interventions. We extend our special thanks to the states that prepared working papers and to the chair for his leadership and guidance.

Estonia firmly believes that any weapon system, irrespective of its level of autonomy, must only be used in strict compliance with international law, in particular international humanitarian law. States must ensure that the weapon systems that they develop or acquire are capable of being used consistently with their obligations under international law, and are indeed so used in practice.


In terms of the way forward, Estonia makes the following observations:

A number of states have indicated the significance of maintaining meaningful human control over weapon systems or exercising appropriate levels of human judgment. It is not entirely clear, however, what these phrases means to individual states. Thus, Estonia would support a further discussion where states and civil society organisations would more fully express their views as to what is required in order for a weapon system to be considered as being under meaningful human control.

A number of states have highlighted the importance of conducting legal reviews of new weapons as an implementation mechanism of IHL. Estonia would support a further discussion on best practices of weapon reviews, especially as concerns technologically complex weapon systems.


Estonia believes that a GGE of the CCW is the best forum for conducting these discussions.


Thank you, Mr Chairman!



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