On 25 & 26 April, the Minister of Defence François Bausch organizes the Luxembourg Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) conference at Maison des Arts et des Étudiants in Belval (LU). The conference aims to offer stakeholders a forum to discuss military use cases, ongoing work, risks and challenges associated with the use of Autonomous Weapons Systems (AWS).
In 2022, the Luxembourg Government Council established an inter-ministerial working group on lethal AWS. The working group, under the coordination of the Directorate of Defence, intends to develop Luxembourg’s position on AWS. This implies the regulation of the latter at international and, if necessary, national levels; and also guidelines in order to both ensure and attest compliance with these regulations.
“If left unchecked, Autonomous Weapons Systems pose a serious threat and a challenge to society. States and terrorists alike can make use of this technology. That is why Luxembourg has decided to establish a national framework to prevent misuse” – François Bausch, Minister of Defence
The LAWS conference will feature keynotes and panel discussions gathering seasoned speakers from a variety of fields, including military, legal, and technological perspectives. They will explore the ethical implications of AWS and discuss how they could impact international security and human rights. They will further consider possible regulatory frameworks and policy responses to mitigate the risks associated with AWS, aiming overall to identify avenues of reflection for Luxembourg’s position regarding these systems.
“The LAWS conference will provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to discuss the challenges associated with AWS. International experts and government representatives will meet in Luxembourg. To tackle the challenge. To raise public awareness. To exchange ideas.”
On 25 April, the Minister of Defence François Bausch will inaugurate the LAWS conference with an opening speech, followed by Dr. Paul Scharre’s keynote address providing an overview of the subject for public awareness and food for thought on how to tackle the challenges associated with the potential use of such weapons systems.
On the second day, panel discussions will dive further into topics such as the status of military application of AWS, the development and regulation of AWS on both national and international levels, as well as the technical and ethical challenges. The panels are composed of experts from civil society, governments, military, NATO, the University of Luxembourg and the Luxembourg House of Cybersecurity.
The conference will offer all stakeholders – including governments, industry, civil society, research institutes and academia – a platform to discuss the risks and challenges associated with the use of AWS.
Open to the public, the hybrid event will be held in English, (French live translation will be available on 25 April). The audience in the room will have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in discussions with the speakers.
For more information about the event and its programme, along with a full list of speakers and the registration details, please visit the LAWS conference’s dedicated website.
- Farvest, photo Ministery of Defence Luxembourg