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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to analyse the efficacy and legality of drones in modern warfare. It argues that the use of drones is a specific characteristic of modern warfare strengthening the conclusion that modern warfare cannot be explained sufficiently by the classic understanding of peace and war anymore. It is the asymmetric nature of warfare and armed conflict that makes the use of drones both necessary and dangerous at the same time. In particular, the long-term effects on the population directly affected by drone strikes and the resultant consequences for the relationship between the involved states as well as the possible change in the dynamic of modern armed conflicts evolving from growing knowledge and cheaper technology are reason for concern regarding the to date unregulated use of drones both in- and outside combat. In addition to the socio-political concerns, the paper outlines that, from a legal point of view, the use of drones is not as unproblematic as military and government officials tend to say. Using statistics from the US army and the US CIA, this paper will argue that the technology itself is indeed able to be highly precise and efficient. This, however, does not mean that the application of drones does not leave room for highly disproportionate attacks. It is the humane application of the weapon that makes the difference. Considering both the socio-political effects and the problems arising from the core principles of LOAC, particularly proportionality, this paper will argue that it is necessary to create a legal frame work regulating the use of drones in- and outside combat.

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