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Coping with the weapons of tomorrow: ethics and rules

In association with BBC World Service Radio and the International Committee of the Red Cross

Panel one - the ethics of weapon design: Col (rtd) John Alexander; General (rtd) Sir Hugh Beach; Dr Robin Coupland; Professor Malcolm Dando

Panel two - stopping the flow: Dr Trevor Findlay; Jozef Goldblat; Peter Herby

Moderator: Sheena McDonald
Chair: Professor Conor Gearty, Centre for the Study of Human Rights
May 2003

The use of armed violence to solve human problems is still very much part and parcel of today's world. Conflict as a means to an end is a chosen course for hundreds of thousands of people, be they combatants, non-combatants, or perhaps something between the two. But rarely has conflict been under so close a scrutiny from all levels of society as it is now. The most obvious questions, of course, concern the practical and ethical worth of conflict as a tool for solving difficult problems. War and conflict will not, however, disappear from our global environment and, perhaps more than ever, we need to contain the effects of armed violence. In this sense, it is always necessary to scrutinise the mechanical and legal parameters available to those who must fight.

This event will consist of two separate panels of speakers who will consider the kinds of weapons the world is having to deal with at present and which it is clear it will have to confront in the future. The panels will examine the life of a weapon, from conceptualisation to deployment and, in doing so, will consider the impact of international law and codes of ethics upon scientists and governments