The Review Process
All States are required by international law to determine the legality of its weapons before they are used in armed conflict. International law does not however require a particular method of review. The legal review obligation is one of result and is fulfilled by the State’s assessment that its weapon capabilities comply with its international legal obligations.
States Party to the First Additional Protocol the Geneva Conventions of 1949 generally recognise four steps that form the basis of a weapons review. See the Step by Step graphic on this page.
Weapon reviews are often conducted during the State capability acquisition process to inform acquisition or adoption decisions.
Legal review of autonomous systems
The legal review of autonomous weapons, including weapons enhanced by Artificial Intelligence (AI), requires additional legal review considerations to those applied during the tradition review process. In particular, those aspects of autonomous functionality that engage the reviewing States legal obligations must be the subject of careful analysis to ensure that the AI design, programming and training accurately reflects and enables compliance with legal obligations.