A new research project, carried out in partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), will explore the humanitarian consequences and protection needs caused by the digitalization of armed conflicts and the extent to which these are addressed in international humanitarian law (IHL).
Robin Geiß, Swiss IHL Chair at the Geneva Academy, is conducting this project.
New (military) technologies have a profound impact on how wars are fought. Significant advances in the fields of cyberspace, artificial intelligence, robotics or space technology are at the forefront of contemporary geopolitical power struggles and already bring major transformative shifts in military and humanitarian affairs.
‘While IHL is applicable to all technological developments in warfare, the speed, scale, and transformative impact of today’s technological advances require a constant (re-)assessment whether new means and methods of warfare are compatible with existing IHL rules’ explains Robin Geiß.
‘Our research precisely aims at considering the effects of these developments and at assessing whether IHL continues to provide the level of humanitarian protection it is meant to ensure – notably for conflict-affected populations – in contemporary and future warfare’ he adds.
Screenshots of Obsolete, a video game>
The research will notably address issues related to artificial intelligence in military decision-making, cyberwarfare, as well as data protection in times of war.
‘This project is at the forefront of contemporary protection challenges in times of war. While the international community started to assess the impact of and protection challenges raised by artificial intelligence and manipulative cyber operations in peacetime, we need to do the same in times of armed conflict’ underlines Professor Gloria Gaggioli, Director of the Geneva Academy.
‘The analysis will allow us to see whether we need to develop or clarify the law and policy framework beyond the protection that IHL currently affords: this is crucial to ensure the relevance of this body of law for victims of armed conflict in the years to come’ explains Robin Geiß.
Besides the partnership with the ICRC, the research will involve other actors, including the private sector, states, humanitarian organizations and academia.
‘Our objective is to conduct broad consultations with all the relevant stakeholders in order to get the facts right, ask the right questions and identify areas where we think legal protection needs to be improved’ says Robin Geiß.
The first public event of this new research initiative will take place on 29 October 2020. It will explore the rapidly evolving digitalization of armed conflicts.
Joshua Niyo received a one-year Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) Doc.Mobility grant to spend a year at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law as Visiting Researcher.
Our RULAC online portal provides a detailed analysis of these conflicts. It has been updated to include recent developments, including the current peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
Join us for our open house to learn more about this part-time programme designed professionals, meet staff, students and alumni, and discuss career opportunities.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, provides an in-depth study of an emblematic example of the complexity of international humanitarian law and the challenges it raises: the classification of armed conflicts.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, examines the conduct of hostilities in situations of international armed conflict, also known as the Law of The Hague.
The Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts project (RULAC) is a unique online portal that identifies and classifies all situations of armed violence that amount to an armed conflict under international humanitarian law (IHL). It is primarily a legal reference source for a broad audience, including non-specialists, interested in issues surrounding the classification of armed conflicts under IHL.
Via a new lecture series on disruptive military technologies, this project aims at staying abreast of the various military technology trends; promoting legal and policy debate on new military technologies; and furthering the understanding of the convergent effects of different technological trends shaping the digital battlefield of the future.