International humanitarian law and new weapon technologies, 34th round table on current issues of international humanitarian law, San Remo, 8-10 September 2011 / keynote address by Jakob Kellenberger and conclusions by Philip Spoerri
The keynote address goes through the technologies that have only recently entered the battle field or could potentially enter it: Cyber warfare, remote-controlled weapon systems and robotic weapon systems. The conclusion highlights five aspects that appeared to be recurring: the uncertainty of facts - it is not always clear what is technically feasible in today’s theatres of war, and less clear what will be feasible in the future and when and also not always clear what the humanitarian impact is; the fact that new technologies remove soldiers further and further away from the battle field ; the lack of transparency about the effects of certain weapons for the civilian population ; the fact that new technologies can actually also be tools for more transparency, namely to support the witnessing, recording and investigation of violations ; whether new technologies will reduce our capacity to allocate responsibility and accountability for violations remains to be seen ; and finally, the most recurrent overarching theme was maybe that technology, in itself, is neither good nor bad. It can be a source of good and progress or result in terrible consequences at worst.
By entering this website, you consent to the use of technologies, such as cookies and analytics, to customise content, advertising and provide social media features. This will be used to analyse traffic to the website, allowing us to understand visitor preferences and improving our services. Learn more