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New technologies and international humanitarian law

Technological developments have given rise to new methods and means of warfare, such as cyber attacks, armed drones and robots, raising novel humanitarian and legal challenges. When developing or acquiring any new weapon, means or method of warfare, it is vitally important that a State assess whether it complies with international humanitarian law. However, applying pre-existing legal rules to a new technology may raise the question of whether the rules are sufficiently clear in light of the technology's specific characteristics and foreseeable humanitarian impact.