The Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights
Faculty of Law
P.O. BOX 4 (visiting address: Yliopistonkatu 3)
Tel: +358 (0)29 4123140



ECI Brown Bag Seminar / Dr. Rain Liivoja

ECI Brown Bag Seminar on Monday 10 September 2012, at 12:15 pm
Room P669 (Porthania Building, Address: Yliopistonkatu 3).

Emerging Technologies of Warfare as a Challenge to the Law of Armed Conflict

Rain Liivoja

Technological developments often create governance problems. These problems become
particularly urgent when emerging technologies are used by the armed forces for offensive
purposes. Nonetheless, new military technologies are sometimes devised and deployed in
the battlespace without sufficient reflection on the associated regulatory issues. As
Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary
Executions, noted in a recent report, '[a]lthough robotic or unmanned weapons technology
has developed at astonishing rates, the public debate over the legal, ethical and moral
issues arising from its use is at a very early stage, and very little consideration has
been given to the international legal framework necessary for dealing with the resulting
issues'. Indeed, unmanned, automated or autonomous weapons systems, as well as certain
military applications of nanoscale technologies, appear to create particularly thorny
ethical and legal problems, which only add to the existing challenges posed by
computer-network-based non-physical acts of war. This presentation will explore some of
the broader conceptual puzzles that the law of armed conflict has to address in light of
recent developments in military technology.

Dr Rain Liivoja is a Research Fellow at Melbourne Law School and Project Director for the
Law of Armed Conflict at the Asia Pacific Centre for Military Law.