2022 Sir Kenneth Bailey Memorial Lecture co-hosted by the Melbourne Journal of International Law
Marching in the Rear and Limping a Little? International Law's Response to the Development of Autonomous Weapons and Cyber Capabilities
Throughout history, technological changes have reshaped the character of warfare. In some instances, major developments in military technology have precipitated changes in the law that governs warfare. Over the past decade, major debates about the adequacy of the currently legal regulation of armed conflict have focused on the impact of two technological shifts – the increased autonomy in weapon systems and the proliferation of cyber capabilities.
Despite their interconnectedness, these debates have proceeded in different fora and along rather different trajectories. At the same time, both debates have highlighted the challenges that the international legal system faces when dealing with technological change in the peace and security context. This lecture seeks to provide a general account of the similarities and differences of these two regulatory debates, and what these might mean for the future of the law of armed conflict and arms control law.
The Sir Kenneth Bailey Memorial Lecture honours the fourth Dean of Melbourne Law School, Kenneth Hamilton Bailey, who played a significant part in Australia’s contribution to the formation of the United Nations.
Rain Liivoja is an Associate Professor and Deputy Dean (Research) at the University of Queensland Law School, where he leads the Law and the Future of War research group.
He is also a Senior Fellow with the Lieber Institute for Law and Land Warfare at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Rain’s current research focuses on the legal challenges associated with military applications of science and technology.
He is the author of Criminal Jurisdiction over Armed Forces Abroad (Cambridge University Press 2017), and a co-editor of four books, most recently Autonomous Cyber Capabilities under International Law (NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence 2021).
Rain is a Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies (Brill/Nijhoff). Before joining the University of Queensland, Rain held academic appointments at the Universities of Melbourne, Helsinki and Tartu. He has served on Estonian delegations to multilateral meetings on humanitarian law and arms control.