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“Attack Drones, Cyber-Weapons, and Autonomous Robots: Law and Morality” A Talk by Notre Dame Law Professor


On Wednesday, March 26 at 7 p.m., Le Moyne College will host “Attack Drones, Cyber-Weapons, and Autonomous Robots: Law and Morality,” a talk by Dr. Mary Ellen O’Connell, professor at the University of Notre Dame. The talk is free and will take place in the Panasci Family Chapel on the Le Moyne campus.

The computer revolution has made possible the development of extraordinary new weapons. Although our current legal and moral principles do not permit force in any but the most serious situations and as a last resort, government officials and certain academics are arguing for new interpretations of the rules. Dr. O’Connell believes that such arguments are inconsistent with the fundamental right to life.

Mary Ellen O'Connell holds the Robert and Marion Short Chair in Law and is Research Professor of International Dispute Resolution – Kroc Institute for Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Her research is in the areas of international legal theory, international law on the use of force, and international dispute resolution. She is the author or editor of numerous books and articles on these subjects, including What is War? An Investigation in the Wake of 9/11 and The Power and Purpose of International Law, Insights from the Theory and Practice of Enforcement. She has been a vice president of the American Society of International Law and chair of the International Law Association’s Committee on the Use of Force. She is a member of the German Society of International Law and the San Remo Institute of International Humanitarian Law.

Upon graduating from Columbia Law School, she worked for the international law firm, Covington & Burling before beginning her academic career at Indiana University in 1989. She was a professional military educator for the U.S. Department of Defense in Germany from 1995-1998, returning to the U.S. in 1998 to take up a visiting position at the University of Cincinnati before spending six years at The Ohio State University, where she became the William Saxby Designated Professor of Law and a senior fellow of the Mershon Center for International Security Studies. In 2005, she joined the faculty of the University of Notre Dame.

posted on: 3/9/2014