Drones under International Law


There is a notable absence of legal approaches to the discourse evaluating use of drones. Even when drones are discussed in a legal context, arguments assert that drones require a new legal regime to adapt to modern qualities and circumstances. In the alternative, this paper argues that drones compatibly fit into existing legal regimes, particularly international criminal law (ICL) and international humanitarian law (IHL) in accordance with general principles of international law. This paper argues that use of drones in armed conflict fits within existing laws governing use of force as the frameworks in use today. It demonstrates that ICL and IHL provide flexible guidelines appropriately suitable to particulars of drones, such as types and capabilities, but more importantly, they continue to provide legal governance applicable to drones as weapons. Legal uncertainty as to the use of drones is thus evaluated within the hypothetical exploration of drone usage culminating in a war crime before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

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Alberstadt, R. (2014) Drones under International Law. Open Journal of Political Science, 4, 221-232. doi: 10.4236/ojps.2014.44023.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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