Exeter Law School

Professor of International Law Attends Expert Consultation in Geneva

Posted by The Law School

11 October 2023

On 27-29 September 2023, Professor Kubo Mačák participated in the Expert Meeting on International Humanitarian Law and the Growing Involvement of Civilians in Cyber and Other Digital Operations during Armed Conflicts in Geneva, Switzerland.

The expert consultation was co-organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights as part of their Joint Initiative on the Digitalization of Conflict. The meeting consisted of an expert dialogue on international humanitarian law (IHL) and the growing involvement of civilians in cyber and other digital operations during armed conflicts.

A selected group of academics, practitioners and other experts from all over the world discussed key issues around this growing trend in modern conflicts, particularly from the perspective of IHL. Professor Mačák led the segment of the meeting dedicated to IHL assessment of civilians engaged in or affected by cyber activities.

The meeting was informed by several academic studies, including a recent article by Professor Mačák entitled ‘Will the centre hold? Countering the erosion of the principle of distinction on the digital battlefield’ and published by the International Review of the Red Cross earlier this year. The study has warned that governments should act to stop the growing involvement of civilians on the digital battlefield – actions which can expose them to grave risk of harm.

The Joint Initiative on the Digitalization of Conflict is a joint endeavour between the ICRC and the Swiss IHL Chair at the Geneva Academy, a position currently held by Professor Marco Roscini (University of Westminster). The initiative aims to explore humanitarian consequences and protection needs caused by the digitalization of armed conflicts and the extent to which these needs are addressed by international law, especially IHL.

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