This paper was presented on February 13, 2009 at the Université de Liège, during a conference on “Les armes de neutralisation momentanée: une réponse à l’insécurité grandissante?”. The PowerPoint presentation is attached. Should we or should we not equip the police with the so-called “less-than-lethal” weapons, for example the FN303 launcher produced by FN Herstal or electrical weapons such as the Taser? These new weapons have the advantage of providing law enforcement with a greater range of options before resorting to the conventional, and lethal, armaments. However, the risks of misuse and abuse, sometimes unsuspected technological innovations issued from military research, and the lack of a proper legal framework, raise many questions about the acceptability of these new generations of weapons. An independent and multidisciplinary evaluation of the “less-than-lethal” concept is absolutely necessary to meet certain legitimate demands from the police forces while ensuring very strict compliance with ethical and legal rules.
Key words : non-lethal weapons, less-than-lethal, FN303, Taser.