New weapons raise concerns for ICRC

Sept. 8, 2011 at 9:45 AM
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SAN REMO, Italy, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- The International Red Cross said from Italy that it had legal concerns about the use of new weapons technology like robotic and cybersystems.

The International Institute of International Humanitarian Law and the International Committee of the Red Cross are hosts for a two-day discussion in Sam Remo, Italy, on modern warfare and new weapons technology.

ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger said new weapons technologies are no longer science fiction and fantasy.

He said advancements in technology, remote-controlled and robotic weapons systems pose problems when considering the potential for indiscriminate use, sometimes from bases thousands of miles from the battlefield.

"In armed conflict, the new technologies can cause death and damage that is all too real," said Kellenberger. "It is important to discuss the issues raised by their development, to assess their humanitarian consequences and to ensure that they are not prematurely employed under conditions where respect for the law cannot be guaranteed."

The CIA is under criticism for the use of unmanned aerial drones over Pakistan against al-Qaida targets. Questions arise because the United States isn't at war with Pakistan.

The ICRC said new technologies can sometimes diminish the likelihood of collateral damage but they also carry with them heightened risk of misuse.

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