Robin M Coupland is the adviser on armed violence and the effects of weapons for the International Committee of the Red Cross. He joined the ICRC in 1987 and worked as a field surgeon in Thailand, Cambodia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Angola, Somalia, Kenya and Sudan. He has developed a health-oriented approach to a variety of issues relating to the design and use of weapons. A graduate of the Cambridge University School of Clinical Medicine, UK, he trained as a surgeon at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital and University College Hospital, London. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1985.
As part of his current position he has focused on the effects of conventional and anti-personnel weapons. He has paid particular attention to the effects of anti-personnel mines and, by using the Red Cross wound classification, fragment injuries and the disruption of bullets. In promoting the concept of weapons as a health issue, his work led to the organisation in 1996 of the Montreux Symposium The medical profession and the effects of weapons and initiated the 'SIrUS Project' which, in turn, has led to an examination of international legal responsibility of governments to review new weapons and weapons' systems. He has developed and published an analytical framework of armed violence as a tool for reporting and communication.
He has published a surgical textbook War wounds of limbs (in 1993) and many articles relating to the surgical management of war wounds and the effects of weapons. He has recently taken a year's sabbatical leave from the ICRC to study for a Graduate Diploma in International Law at the University of Melbourne in Australia.