Keeping up with conflict: weapons reviews and the laws of war

As the Geneva Conventions turn 70, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is changing its guide to how new weapons are reviewed. Here’s why we need to pay attention.

After witnessing the Battle of Solferino in 1859, one of the bloodiest battles of the 19th century, the founder of the Red Cross wrote, ‘If the new and frightful weapons of destruction which are now at the disposal of the nations seem destined to abridge the duration of future wars, it appears likely, on the other hand, that future battles will only become more and more murderous.’

In his reflection, Henry Dunant was right on one count and wrong on another. In 2019, shortened conflicts are not the experience of the ICRC. At the same time, the emergence of new weapons due to

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