Current challenges in the legal regulation of the methods of warfare
Host item entries:
Collegium, No. 41, Automne 2011, p. 21-31
This presentation focuses on technological developments that raise challenges to IHL. Challenges also relate to whether technology is not creating greater obligations for parties to a conflict which have advanced technology in their arsenal. The increasing resort to Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles raise serious issues such as the question of assigning responsibility in case of violations because of pilot’s absence from the cockpit, or the ability of human operators to base the identification of targets on information and intelligence gathered though UCAV’s systems, miles away from the field of operations, and consequently to assess IHL legal parameters based on this information. Deriving from the principle of precaution, there is also a debate on whether States have an obligation to either acquire precision- guided munitions or to use such weapons when they possess them in their arsenal. The increasing resort to non-lethal technology has potential implication on the notion of "hors de combat" as some non-lethal weapons are designed to temporary incapacitate or immobilize.