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Archive 10

“Boe Declaration on Regional Security” signed at Pacific Islands Forum

The Boe Declaration on Regional Security was signed last week at the Pacific Islands Forum, which took place from 3–6 September [as previously reported by APCML]. This document is designed to update the 2000 Biketawa Declaration on regional security, and articulates an “expanded concept of security inclusive of human security, humanitarian assistance, prioritising environmental security, and […]

This new development is summarised briefly by the ASPI here, and the full text of the Declaration is available on the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s website here.

New EJIL: Talk! Blog Post: “Failure to Protect Civilians in the Context of UN Peace Operations”

On 31 July 2018, 32 States asked the UN Secretary-General to go further in addressing failings of UN peacekeeping operations (UNPKOs). A new post on the EJIL: Talk! blog by Hanna Bourgeois discusses these issues against the broader context of 2015’s Kigali Principles on the protection of civilians:

Panel Discussion on Gender, Peace and Security

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s Women in Defence and Security Network is co-hosting a panel discussion with Monash University’s Centre for Gender, Peace and Security on 6 September. The topic of discussion is “Gender, Peace and Security: Experiences from Academia and the Field”. The panel will include: Lisa Sharland, Head of International Program, ASPI (Chair) […]

ASPI Global Powers Masterclass: “Prospects for Peace or Conflict in 2019”

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute is holding its 2019 Global Powers Masterclass on 19 October in Canberra.

The event is a half-day intensive session providing a strategic overview of prospects for peace and/or conflict in 2019 between the world’s major powers (Russia, China, USA). Speakers include Sir John Scarlett KCMG OBEPeter Jennings and John Garnaut.

Full details and registration are available here.

Gallantry of Australian Far East POWs posthumously recognised

On 27 August, Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester announced that 28 Australian servicemen will be posthumously awarded the Commendation for Gallantry. Those identified were killed while escaping Japanese POW camps during WWII or following recapture.

Full details are contained in a statement on the Minister’s website here. More information on the recognised servicemen is available on Department of Defence’s website here.

All Sides in Yemen May be Guilty of War Crimes: UN Experts

Linking to earlier stories published by the APCML on this issue: UN-appointed investigators said on Tuesday last week that parties on both sides of the conflict in Yemen have perpetrated (and continue to perpetrate) possible war crimes and other violations with a “total disregard” for the suffering of millions of civilians.

Hartford Guidelines on Speech Crimes in International Criminal Law

The Hartford Guidelines on Speech Crimes in International Criminal Law have been recently released, as discussed in a recent post on EJIL: Talk! by Richard A. Wilson. Professor Wilson explains that the international legal mechanisms available to indict and punish perpetrators of “international speech crimes” – such as direct and public incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity – have historically been weak.

The Guidelines were accordingly developed at a recent meeting of lawyers and researches convened by the Peace and Justice Initiative and the University of Connecticut Law School and Human Rights Institute.

The Guidelines are freely available here

New ICRC Blog Post: “the (im)possibility of meaningful human control for lethal autonomous weapon systems”

A new post on the ICRC’s Humanitarian Law & Policy blog by Elke Schwarz analyses the particular ethical dimensions of the “meaningful human control” debate. Her core thesis challenges the “presupposition” that humans can be meaningfully in control over LAWS, especially as they become increasingly controlled by AI.

New ICRC Blog Post: “The impact of gender and race bias in AI”

A new post on the ICRC’s Humanitarian Law & Policy blog by Emeritus Professor Noel Sharkey considers the impacts of automated decision-making on gender and race discrimination. His fundamental question is: “can we take away meaningful human control and put our trust in AI to select targets and attack them with violent force?”

Second Expert Meeting on Autonomous Weapons Systems

The Second Meeting of the UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on emerging technologies in the area of lethal autonomous weapons (LAWS) recently took place from 27 – 31 August.

The GGE was established in 2016 at the Fifth Review Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). The final report of the 2017 GGE meeting provides guidance and direction on the GGE’s work in 2018. In particular, the following overarching issues were scheduled to be discussed this year:

  1. Characterization of the systems under consideration in order to promote a common understanding on concepts and characteristics relevant to the objectives and purposes of the CCW;
  2. Further consideration of the human element in the use of lethal force; aspects of human-machine interaction in the development, deployment and use of emerging technologies in the area of lethal autonomous weapons systems;
  3. Review of potential military applications of related technologies in the context of the Group’s work;
  4. Possible options for addressing the humanitarian and international security challenges posed by emerging technologies in the area of LAWS in the context of the objectives and purposes of the Convention without prejudging policy outcomes and taking into account past, present and future proposals.

The meeting has also received substantial attention in the media: see, for example, Washington Times here. An interview with the meeting’s chair for 2018 is available here. Amnesty International (here) and Human Rights Watch (here) – among other organisations – have also been steadfast in their calls for a ban on LAWS.

Further details and agenda items for the GGE’s most recent meeting are available here

The Asia-Pacific Centre for Military Law is operated by the University of Melbourne and it is not an agent of, nor affiliated with, or part of, the Australian Government or the Department of Defence.