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The digitalization of warfare proceeds quickly, as witnessed during the international armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2020 or the current invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
A key question related to the increasing employment of digital technologies in warfare – artificial intelligence/machine learning, drones, swarms, or ‘human enhancement’ technologies – is whether the existing legal frameworks, including international humanitarian law (IHL), are up to the task when it comes to the efficacy of the law of armed conflict and the protection it affords.
Written by Dr Henning Lahmann, our new Working Paper The Future Digital Battlefield and Challenges for Humanitarian Protection: A Primer provides an overview of the various novel technologies that together form part of the ‘future digital battlefield’ and assesses some of the implications they have for humanitarian protection in armed conflict.
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Based on the discussions during a high-level expert workshop conducted in August 2021, the paper identifies five main aspects regarding humanitarian protection that merit further research:
Without attempting to provide definitive answers, the paper gives an overview of these issues and hints at possible legal solutions.
‘This paper frames the entire topic of our research project ‘Disruptive Military Technologies’ on a general level, identifies the most contentious legal issues, and thus serves as a very good basis for subsequent research we will carry out within this project’s scope’ explains Professor Marco Roscini, Swiss IHL Chair at the Geneva Academy.
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In light of concerns about the dissemination of illegal content, disinformation and misinformation via online platforms and social media, our new Working Paper Regulatory Approaches to Online Harms and Human Rights: Three Case Studies discusses how to best place human rights at the centre of regulatory frameworks and legislation on online harms.
Said Condo Ndoli is the Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) sub-delegation in Timbuktu, Mali and graduated from our Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict in 2021.
In this online event co-organized with the ATLAS Network, prominent women in international law will share their experience and advice through an interactive discussion.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, focuses on the specific issues that arise in times of armed conflict regarding the respect, protection and fulfilment of human rights. It addresses key issues like the applicability of human rights in times of armed conflict; the possibilities of restricting human rights under systems of limitations and derogations; and the extraterritorial application of human rights law.
This short course examines the sources of international humanitarian law and provides an introduction to its key principles and terminology.
This project will facilitate a multistakeholder consultative process to identify knowledge gaps, generate new evidence and co-design evidence-based tools to support regulatory and policy responses to human rights challenges linked to digital technologies.
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe