International Committee of the Red Cross Wants International Law Rolled into War Games

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) issued a lengthy statement today noting that it is time that games involving war start including the actual laws of war. The IRCC says that this could be done without interfering with the fun that millions of players have playing first-person shooters.

The ICRC believes that more realistic war games could offer learning opportunities by forcing players to face some of the same real-world dilemmas that real soldiers face on the battlefield. This could be done by adding a penalty system where, if a player violates the laws of armed conflict established by the Geneva Convention, they might face in-game penalties. Those penalties would be related to "wanton killing" of civilians, using torture, or targeting medical personnel.

"Gamers should be rewarded for respecting the law of armed conflict and there should be virtual penalties for serious violations of the law of armed conflict, in other words war crimes," the ICRC noted. "Sanitizing video games of such acts is not realistic. Violations occur on real battlefields… it is useful for players to learn from rewards and punishments incorporated into the game, about what is acceptable and what is prohibited in war."

It's an interesting idea that is explored in more detail here.

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