New Technologies, Old Law: Applying International Humanitarian Law in a New Technological Age

Date(s) of Conference:

November 27-29, 2011




The main question to be examined by the conference is
whether the basic principles of international humanitarian
law – military necessity, distinction, proportionality and
humanity – and key concepts such as combatancy, armed
conflict and combat zone – are elastic enough to
accommodate the new technological armed conflict terrain.

Call for Papers:

A non-exhaustive list of issues, illustrating some, but not
all, of the questions the conference will deal with, includes:
1. Cyber attacks: What is an attack? What is the target?
How are civilian and military infrastructures to be
2. Remote controlled weapon systems: Who is the attacker?
Where is the battlefield?
3. Autonomous weapons systems (robots): Who is
responsible? Replacing human discretion with programmed
responses – does the law allow for it? Should it? What
factors would be included in the program? How will
unforeseen circumstances be accounted for?
4. Increased obligations: Should technological advances
such as the availability of precision weapons affect
the application of the duty to take precautions in
attack and the principles of distinction and
5. Weapons review: Do new weapons and novel means and
methods of war correspond with IHL and other applicable
rules of international law?
6. Monitoring: What prospects, dangers and challenges
arise from new technologies for monitoring the
battlefield and uncovering violations (forensics,
genetics, media technologies)?

Researchers interested in addressing these and other
questions related to the conference topic are invited to
respond to this call for papers with a 1-2 page proposal
for an article and presentation, along with a brief cv.
Proposals should be submitted no later than May 8, 2011by email to:

The Minerva Center for Human Rights at the
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Contact Information:


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