The Sanremo Round Table, jointly organized every year in September by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law and the International Committee of the Red Cross, took place in Sanremo from 4 to 6 September 2019

This year, on the occasion of the 70th  anniversary of the 1949 Geneva Conventions the Round Table addressed the topic  “Whither the human in armed conflict? IHL implications of new technology in warfare”

Cyber warfare, artificial intelligence and other contemporary legal challenges deriving from the use of new technologies in military operations constituted the defining issues of the event.

Opening session



“International humanitarian law: changing and unchanging 70 years after the Geneva Conventions”
Yoram Dinstein, Emeritus Professor, University of Tel Aviv; President of the United Nations Association of Israel; Council Member, IIHL

Session I

The Geneva Conventions on their 70th anniversary:
IHL and the changing realities in the conduct of hostilities in the past century

Session II

IHL and the challenges related to cyber warfare

  • Casualties caused through computer network attacks? The potential human costs of cyber warfare
    Marina Krotofil, Senior Security Engineer, BASF
  • The contemporary and future use of cyber technology in warfare
    Camille Faure, Deputy Director, Department of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Defence, France
  • The use of cyber technology in warfare: which rules does IHL provide and are they sufficient?
    Laurent Gisel, Senior Legal Advisor, ICRC

Session III

IHL and new technology – How much human control is required by existing rules?

Moderator: Netta Goussac, Legal Advisor, Arms Unit of the Legal Division, ICRC

  • Argument that IHL requires significant human control over weapon systems and decisions on the use of force.
    Richard Moyes, Managing Director, Article 36
  • Argument that IHL does not require significant human control over weapon systems and decisions on the use of force.
    Michael Meier, Colonel (retd), Special Assistant for Law of War Matters, Office of the Judge Advocate General, International and Operational Law Division, US Department of Defence, Washington – Member, IIHL

Session IV

The use of artificial intelligence in warfare

Session V

IHL and challenges related to outer space warfare

Session VI

New technology and urban warfare:
more precise or more destructive?

  • Urban warfare in 2035: What realities to expect?
    Xavier Labarrière, Lt. Colonel, Operational Legal Advisor, NATO HQ SACT
  • New technology and the preparation of urban warfare: what prospects for active and passive precautions?
    Susan Escallier, Brigadier General, Head, US Army Legal Services Agency
  • Risks in using new technology in urban warfare – and additional steps States should take to avoid civilian casualties
    John Amble, Editorial director; Co-director of the Urban Warfare Project, Modern War Institute at West Point

Session VII

The prospects and pitfalls of digital technology in designing and delivering effective humanitarian responses

Session VIII

The way forward?
A conversation on contemporary initiatives to address the new technology in warfare

Moderator: Cordula Droege, Chief Legal Officer, ICRC

  • Kaja Ciglic, Director, Digital Diplomacy, Microsoft
  • Thomas Hajnoczi, Ambassador, Director for Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, Austria

Closing words