Rome 22.11.2019—23.11.2019 International Humanitarian Law Via Liguria 20 Conference on multilateral diplomacy and future warfare
To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the Istituto Svizzero and the Swiss Embassy in Italy invite, in collaboration with the University Roma Tre and The University of Geneva, the Roman public to a discussion about both the achievements and the challenges in current international humanitarian law (IHL). The DISPUTE series provides a platform for citizen engagement relating to the globalization and the future of contemporary societies. Proposing a new topic every year, the forum aims to strengthen civic participation and public debate.This year’s edition puts the role and relevance of the IHL up for debate. Featuring politicians, scholars, representatives of states, armed forces, the Red Cross Movement and non-governmental activist groups, interested citizens have the chance to participate in an informed discussion with experienced specialists who can give a clear idea of what IHL is, what it does, and what its challenges for the future are. The conference will be accompanied by two commentators (already confirmed is Yves Daccord, general director, ICRC) whose role is to highlight important themes and arguments in wrap-up sessions following each panel.The conference will focus on three different fields of interest:
Multilateral diplomacy and IHL: does it still work? During the last decades, multilateral diplomacy has not always been effective despite sustained efforts of the international community to develop new international instruments in order to face current and upcoming challenges in IHL. The trend in favor of unilateral solutions and the shifting of priority from international concerns to national interests is noticeable in a number of States.Inherent features of IHL render law-making in this domain particularly difficult. For instance, various actors are involved in contemporary armed conflicts, such as organized armed groups or international organizations and accommodating their perspectives in a State-centric international system remains a challenge.Against this backdrop, the DISPUTE series will offer the opportunity to panelists and the audience to reflect on possible venues to enhance and continuously ensure effective protection to victims of armed conflicts. Furthermore, the session will explore the continued relevance of the Geneva Conventions and other multilateral IHL treaties highlighting best practice examples from armed conflict situations.Two panels will focus on selected challenges that have arisen in recent armed conflicts. Particular attention will be paid to non-international armed conflicts and related issues pertaining to non-state actors as well as to the protection of cultural heritage in armed conflicts. Discussions will not only demonstrate the complexity of IHL application and humanitarian action in armed conflicts but also give a picture of the global community’s handling of these complexities.
The third session concerns new technologies and their potential impact on the future of warfare. The rapid development of technologies and artificial intelligence with potential military applications may radically change the face of armed conflicts. Drones are increasingly used, cyberspace has emerged as a new battlefield, and automated weapons systems such as combat robots may be defining future wars. At the same time, modern technologies can improve the application of IHL and the enforcement of such rules in case of violations. These changes have not only ethical implications but also pose legal and practical problems to IHL. A simultaneous translation in English-Italian will be provided.