Turkey likely used lethal autonomous weapons systems in Libya, says U.N. panel of experts

NEW YORK — In March, a United Nations Panel of Experts issued a report stating that Turkey likely used an autonomous weapons system, the Kargu-2, against human targets for the first time in Libya during the past year.

The Kargu-2 is capable of flying itself to a specific location, selecting a target on its own and killing without the assistance of a remote human operator.

Turkey reportedly deployed the Kargu-2 during the siege of the Libyan capital of Tripoli by the Libyan National Army (LNA) in the spring of 2020.

The report, which was prepared after intense discussions about the impact of such weapons on civilians and their exacerbation of indiscriminate killing, described the weapons as “killer robots” because they are programmed to initiate the use of lethal force without the need for contact with a human operator.

German newspaper Bild commented on the U.N. report, noting that such autonomous weapons systems increase the possibility of targeting civilian targets indiscriminately.

The Libyan authorities or the United Nations have not yet opened an investigation into the civilian casualties of such weapons in Libya, despite their use in the country.