Period:  11-15.02.2019
Organiser:  T.M.C. Asser Instituut (the Netherlands)

From 11-15 February 2019, the Asser Institute offered a new Winter Academy on Artificial Intelligence and International Law. Over the course of one week, this innovative training programme provided insights into the current and future issues raised by artificial intelligence from the perspective of international law.


Artificial intelligence (AI) comes with many promises. It has the potential of providing for cognitive abilities going beyond human capacities, which could lead to significant scientific and societal progresses. For instance, complex algorithms that compile and analyse large data sets could contribute to more accurate and precise policy-making. At the same time, the use of technologies that display increasing degrees of autonomy brings in significant ethical, legal, and policy challenges. AI is disruptive to fundamental legal norms and concepts, as well as to systems of international governance. It challenges us to rethink a number of legal notions, and to develop analytical frameworks that fully grasp AI.


The Winter Academy offered foundational knowledge on key issues at the interface of international law and artificial intelligence, and provides a platform for critical debate and engagement on emerging questions. The programme was structured along five themes: Understanding AI, AI for good, AI and armed conflict, AI and responsibility, and AI governance. The programme is available here.

The Winter Academy included modules addressing both technical and legal aspects, and alternates theoretical and more practical perspectives. The interactive training features over twenty sessions by high-level speakers and includes panels, seminars, and a hackathon workshop on AI and land grabbing.

The following topics are covered:

  • Definition of AI, current trends, prospective trajectories
  • Intelligence and moral judgment in humans and machines
  • Explainability and intelligibility of decision-making algorithms
  • Ethics of AI and value-sensitive design
  • Using AI to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • AI and human rights
  • AI and international humanitarian law
  • Autonomous weapons systems and human dignity
  • Human control over autonomous military technologies
  • AI and international criminal law
  • AI and state responsibility
  • AI and legal personality
  • Private standards regulation of AI
  • Geopolitics of AI
  • European governance of AI
  • International governance of AI

Ivo Emanuilov, senior expert in LIBRe Foundation, won one of the five scholarships to participate in the 2019 edition of the Winter Academy on Artificial Intelligence and International Law, and represented the organization within the course of the week.

Applied Research