[HILAC Lecture] New technologies in modern warfare

11 December 2023
  • Starts at: 16:00h
  • Venue: Asser Institute
  • Organiser: HILAC and IHCL Platform
  • Address: R.J. Schimmelpennincklaan 20-22
    2517 JN The Hague
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Please join us on 11 December for the HILAC Lecture ‘New technologies in modern warfare’, which will take place at the Asser Institute in The Hague. During the lecture, we will explore the multifaceted relations between new technologies and contemporary armed conflicts.

The field of warfare has seen significant technological advancements in recent years that reconfigure, challenge but also highlight the multiple functions performed by (international) legal frameworks. For example, the extensive use of drones in non-international armed conflicts and the development of AI-enabled defence systems warrant particular scrutiny. Assistant Professor Rebecca Mignot-Mahdavi will offer her valuable insights on the ways new technologies on the battlefield, international law and military strategy have interacted and reshaped one another. She will also talk about how AI-enabled defence systems might call for a reconfiguration of how we think about legality and modalities of legal evaluation.

Wim Zwijnenburg from PAX will reflect on the possibilities that new technologies open up for the documentation of wrongful conduct in war with uncrewed systems, with a particular focus on states using armed drones for targeted killings outside areas of armed conflicts, and the increased use and proliferation of weaponized commercial drones by non-state armed groups. Both developments pose serious peace and security challenges, legal disputes while also undermines protection of civilians.


About the speakers

Rebecca Mignot-Mahdavi is an Assistant Professor of International Law at Sciences Po Law School.
Rebecca Mignot-Mahdavi’s current research is situated in the field of digital security law and global governance. Her research reflects on technolegal modes of governance and their evolution/proliferation in a context where new forms of transnational risk, risk-anticipation strategies and technology are in play. Her expertise in public international law, legal theory, fundamental rights, and criminal law allows her to explore these technolegal phenomena beyond rigid disciplinary boundaries. Her book, Drones and International Law: A Techno-Legal Machinery was published with Cambridge University Press in July 2023.

Rebecca is an Editor for the Legal theory section of the Leiden Journal of International Law, a co-founder and coordinator of the ESIL Interest Group on International Law and Technology, and a board member of the Women in International Law Network. She is an Associate Researcher at the TMC Asser Institute and at the International Center for Counter-Terrorism. Prior to joining Sciences Po, she served as a Lecturer in International Law and the LLM and MA Programme Director at the University of Manchester. 

Rebecca holds a PhD from the European University Institute and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales.

Wim Zwijnenburg is a Project Leader Humanitarian Disarmament for PAX, a Dutch peace organisation.
He has been working on drone use and proliferation since 2011 and published numerous reports on the development of drones use in conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Ukraine and the African continent. He also coordinated the European Forum on Armed Drones, and is working on advocacy towards building transparency and accountability around extrajudicial killings with armed drones. His work also focused in building international norms and standards around the growing use and proliferation of military and weaponized commercial drones through improved export controls.

For more details on Wim’s work, see PAX’s Armed Drones website and this article here. 

About the HILAC lecture series
The Hague Initiative for Law and Armed Conflict (HILAC) Lecture Series is an occasional lecture series on the subject of law and armed conflict organised by the T.M.C. Asser Instituut since 2005, in cooperation with the Netherlands Red Cross and the Amsterdam Center for International Law, and held at the T.M.C. Asser Instituut.

About the IHCL Platform
The International Humanitarian and Criminal Law (IHCL) Platform is an academic network in the field of IHL and ICL, established in 2010. It currently consists of representatives from the T.M.C. Asser Instituut (which coordinates the Platform), the University of Amsterdam (in particular the Amsterdam Center for International Law), VU University Amsterdam, Leiden University (in particular the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies), the University of Groningen, the Netherlands Defence Academy, Tilburg University, Maastricht University, the Institute for International Law of the KU Leuven, Utrecht University, the Ghent Rolin-Jaequemyns International Law Institute of Ghent University, the University of Antwerp, the Université Libre de Bruxelles and the Royal Military Academy of Belgium.