This seminar will explore different forms of regulation of new weapons technology: regulation ex ante, which occurs before a weapon or technique has been used in battle; regulation in media res, when a weapon or technique is new and in use, but not widely; and regulation post facto, when a weapon or technique has been widely used for a sustained period. The discussion is based on an ongoing research project exploring the extent to which, and in what way, the timing of the legal regulation of battlefield weapons and techniques matters. It will begin with an overview of the project findings, drawing from an analysis of six historical cases of the regulation of military technology. The issue of timing will then be considered in relation to the ongoing debate about autonomous weapons.
Neil C. Renic is a researcher based at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg. His research focuses on the changing character of war, emerging combat technologies, and the regulation of armed conflict.