The use of computers in modern warfare stretches back over decades. Computers have been employed for functions that range from managing materiel and personnel flows into an area of operations to sorting intelligence data and improving the precision capabilities of weapons. In recent conflicts, however, we have witnessed their transformation into a “means of warfare” (weapon) and modern militaries are busily developing information technology “methods of warfare.” This article briefly addresses the legal issues surrounding computer use in classic kinetic-based warfare. Attention then turns to the most significant phenomenon for humanitarian law, namely the employment of information technology during network-centric, four-dimensional operations, which increasingly characterize twentieth-first century conflict.
The numerous unexploded bomblets, or submunitions, discarded on the battlefield as a result of cluster munition attacks have attracted widespread criticism, particularly from non‐governmental organizations, prompting suggestions that new international law arrangements should be agreed to address the problem. These ‘dud’ bomblets may pose a post‐conflict risk for troops and civilians alike. The humanitarian concerns raised by this hazard have been recognised for a number of years. An important debate is now under way, however, to try to identify a way of addressing the problem effectively while recognising the essential defense needs of states. Working out which, if any, developments in the law are appropriate to such a problem necessitates an analysis of existing, relevant law. There are numerous general legal principles that limit the weapons which states are permitted to employ in armed conflict. There are also important treaties applicable to particular technologies. There is, then, the legal obligation accepted by many states to review weapons plans to ensure they comply with applicable law. Of particular relevance to the cluster munition debate is the Conventional Weapons Convention (CCW), a framework treaty under which individual protocols have been negotiated to address such diverse technologies as mines and lasers. Following a seminal meeting in Nyon, Switzerland in September 2000, CCW member states started to discuss the problem of unexploded and abandoned explosive ordnance. Having clarified the nature of the problem, they negotiated a Protocol to the Convention. Its focus is the marking, clearance, removal, and destruction of explosive remnants of war.
From 20th June through the 5th of July 2002, the Conflict Prevention Initiative of the Harvard Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research (CPI HPCR) in cooperation with the Center for Peace and Security Studies at the University of Gadjah Mada (CSPS) carried out a series of activities under the theme: “Building sustainable peace and fostering development in Papua”. This event was an effort to gather ideas and support from those representing Papua in the fields of peacebuilding and development. Using the Internet to discuss policies in the field of conflict prevention, this CPI-CSPS event also aimed at providing a platform for spreading information and strengthening networks between participants and decision makers at the national and international levels. The event started with a roundtable discussion at the University of Gadjah Mada on 20-22 June 2002, with 8 people from Papua representing the academic world, NGOs, religious organizations, customary institutions, women’s groups and youth. The main ideas that emerged during this discussion then became entry points for the e-conference, an online virtual discussion online in Indonesian. The e-conference took place between 24 June and 25 July 2002, with the participation of 89 people from various backgrounds. Simultaneously, an e-forum was carried out in English, with the participation of 32 people.
This paper explores communication technology advances as an opportunity for humanitarian organizations to harness modern technology to communicate more effectively with communities affected by disasters and to allow members of those communities to communicate with each other and with the outside world. People in affected communities can recover faster if they can access and use information. A look at the use of communications technology during disasters in recent years shows that while communication advances have played a positive role, their full potential has not yet been realized.
The purpose of this Working Paper Series on Crisis Mapping is to briefly analyze the current use, and changing role, of information communication technology (ICT) in conflict early warning, crisis mapping and humanitarian response. The authors demonstrate that ICTs have the potential to play an increasingly significant role in three critical ways by: facilitating the communication of information in conflict zones, improving the collection of salient quantitative and qualitative conflict data, and enhancing the visualization and analysis of patterns.
Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) analysis of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery captured on 28 June has identified four vehicles consistent with BM-21 mobile multiple rocket launcher (MRL) systems at an apparent Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) camp southwest of El Obeid, North Kordofan, Sudan.
Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) has identified a previously unidentified assembly of SAF forces at the El Obeid Barracks, approximately 440 kilometers (273 miles) from Abyei town and the contested border line between North and South Sudan. Based on analysis of available transportation logistics and the formation of the units, SSP has concluded that the forces at El Obeid are capable of imminent forward deployment and could reach Abyei town in less than a day.
The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) has confirmed that at least 356 structures in the town of el-Feid, located in the Nuba Mountains region of South Kordofan State, Sudan, have been razed. There is evidence that an area in Um Barmbita has also been burned, but no visible structures appear to have been destroyed. SSP cannot confirm based on the imagery collected whether the scorched area in Um Barmbita was intentionally burned. There is evidence of scorching at several points between and around the two communities, which are an estimated 15 to 20 kilometers apart. The razing of el-Feid underscores the rising tensions in the Nuba Mountain region as next month's South Kordofan State gubernatorial elections approach.