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Belgium: how can we legislate on cyber-warfare?

19-10-2010 News Release

Brussels (ICRC) – Modern warfare is using ever-more sophisticated technology.

What consequences will these new weapons have? What does international humanitarian law have to say? These are two of the big questions facing specialists and researchers at the 11th Bruges Colloquium on 21 and 22 October.

"New technologies have always revolutionized warfare, and that has always been a challenge for the law of armed conflict," remarked François Bellon, the ICRC delegate to the European Union and NATO. "But the people who originally drafted humanitarian law were flexible. As a result, IHL has been able to adapt," he continued.

The Bruges Colloquium is organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the College of Europe. The event will bring together researchers, university professors and experts from governments and international organizations. They will be looking at the new technologies used on the battlefield and the laws that apply. As well as considering cyber-warfare, participants will be discussing autonomous and remote-controlled weapons, plus the possibility of war in space.

"There is now a pressing need for real specialists to discuss the impact that these new technologies may have on the victims of armed conflict and the coverage that international humanitarian law provides," concluded Bellon.

The ICRC and the College of Europe have held an annual colloquium on IHL every year since 2000, as part of their work with the EU and NATO.

For further information, please contact:
Thomas Vanden Driessche, ICRC Brussels, tel: +32 2 286 58 70 or +32 479 24 00 51
Angela O'Neill, College of Europe, tel: +32 50 477 122

or visit the websites of the College of Europe