Experts' meeting on "killer robots" to be held next May

Delegates to a two-day weapons conference in Geneva agreed Friday to convene a meeting of experts in May next year to address the issue of so-called "killer robots."

The experts are expected to discuss the definition of fully autonomous robot weapons, which would serve as basis for further discussions on whether to introduce controls on the weapons, at the experts' meeting from May 13 to 16 in Geneva.

The agreement came as the 117-member Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons took up the issue of lethal autonomous robots for the first time at the two-day conference from Thursday.

The deployment of the lethal weapons that remove human judgment from the decision to kill is thought to be a matter of time amid the increasing use of remotely operated airborne drones to kill military targets.

International nongovernmental organization Human Rights Watch welcomed the decision to convene the experts' meeting.

"The decision to begin international discussions next year is a major leap forward for efforts to ban killer robots preemptively," Steve Goose, arms director at the organization, said in a statement.

The convention came into force in 1983 and is tasked with banning or regulating weapons considered particularly inhumane. Weapons restricted by its protocols include land mines and blinding lasers.