Responsibility for the development of humanitarian law
Etudes et essais sur le droit international humanitaire et sur les principes de la Croix-Rouge : en l'honneur de Jean Pictet = Studies and essays on international humanitarian law and Red Cross principles : in honour of Jean Pictet
Genève : CICR ; La Haye : Nijhoff, 1984
The author argues that along with policy makers and lawyers, scientists have a special responsibility to restrain the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by making science socially responsible. Despite adoption of the instruments of the Red Cross in 1864 and 1906, the Hague Conventions and the Geneva Conventions along with the additional Protocols, modern threats continue to be created in the form of weapons of mass destruction. Approaches to mitigate the impact of warfare have addressed the notion that the conduct of warfare should have limitations. Specific approaches involve restrictions on use of types of weapons. A paradox emerged where modern weapons of mass destruction continue to be produced, contradicting the goals of reducing the impact of war. The author suggests that scientists may refuse to work on perfecting weapons of mass destruction or demand to know how their research and labour will be used. Through their work, scientists can shape public opinion and warn governments of the dangers involved in certain areas of scientific research, such as molecular genetics, physics or chemistry. Thus, scientists can exercise an important influence on the process of humanising conflicts and strife. [Summary by students at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law (IHRP)].