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UAV warfare and the law of armed conflict: a case of legal and ethical interregnum

Evangelidi, A. (2018). UAV warfare and the law of armed conflict: a case of legal and ethical interregnum. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


The aim of the Thesis is to turn the debate about UAVs and compliance with the LOAC back and to suggest that we need to reconsider UAV warfare and the law at a more fundamental level. Placing the discussion within a larger understanding of the LOAC as a regime that has its own logic and dynamic, the Thesis looks at how the law conceives of war in its attempt to regulate the conduct of hostilities and how it articulates its ethical vision thereof. The Thesis articulates compliance with the LOAC on the basis of the inherent normativity of the law, as this emanates from the ethical assumptions of an armed confrontation and the humanity of the adversary. It examines the factual and normative space of war/armed conflict in the law and suggests that this is premised on the element of confrontation and permeated by notions of fairness as a component of its normativity, thus capturing the adversaries’ opportunity to fight back in response or in defence. Understanding the LOAC as an ‘other-directed’ normative regime, the Thesis examines the constraints and limitations relating to the conduct of hostilities, and the choice of means and methods of warfare, are laid down as obligations or duties owed to one’s human adversary. The above provides the theoretical framework within which the Thesis considers the ‘extraordinary situation’ where UAV warfare disrupts the implicit assumptions within which the law is embedded while UAVs’ technical capabilities for surveillance and precision targeting continue to be recruited in defence of the drone under the LOAC. The Thesis demonstrates that humanity is the irreducible core of the LOAC, which means that the ‘relevance’ of the law as weapon technology evolves and introduces new patterns of wartime behaviour is bound up with the understanding that the human adversary is to retain and ‘benefit’ from the law’s protection.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: K Law
Departments: Doctoral Theses
The City Law School > The City Law School Doctoral Theses
The City Law School
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