Webinar on New Technologies and Challenges to IHL

The BIDTI in collaboration with the ICRC delegation in Sri Lanka conducted a webinar on ‘New Technologies of Warfare and Challenges to International Humanitarian Law’ on the 2nd February 2021. This is the second webinar of the series conducted on the contemporary challenges to International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

The discussion dealt challenges posed to the interpretation and implementation of IHL due to the technological advancements of warfare such as Autonomous Weapons Systems and Cyberwarfare. The panel consisting of Additional Secretary of the Foreign Ministry Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Legal Advisor of ICRC Headquarters in Geneva Kelissiana Thynne as well as Wing Commander A.P.I. Sampath Kumara and Squadron Leader L.N. Randeni of the Sri Lanka Air Force spoke on theoretical and practical aspects of new technology in warfare. The legalities new technologies in Warfare was discussed by Kelisianna Thynne whilst Ambassador Azeez elaborated on challenges posed to States due to new technologies as well as to upholding IHL. He also explained various legal agreements that have been placed in the international arena for States to collectively adhere to.

Deliberating on the practical aspects of using new technologies of warfare, Wing Commander Kumara shed light on the use of cyber warfare and autonomous weapons as a means of defending national security from a technical aspect. An alumnus of the BIDTI and recipient of the Lorna Dewaraja Award Squadron Leader Randeni looked into the application of IHL in the new technologies of warfare. In particular, she pointed out the need for interpretation of IHL in the cyber sphere mentioning the challenges in distinguishing engaging parties in cyberwarfare.

The webinar was moderated by Legal Advisor to ICRC Delegation in Sri Lanka Samindika Elkaduwe.