Utah Law Review Symposium to Consider the Limits of Technological Warfare

Unmanned drones, cruise missiles, automated weapons, even armed robot warriors on the battlefield— in a time of troop cutbacks, emerging technologies make it possible to conduct “clinical strikes” that limit civilian deaths, and even “remote warfare” that might lead to reductions in combatant casualties. What are the ethics of waging war from a safe distance? Who is responsible for decision-making? Do different rules of autonomy and accountability apply? If so, who is drafting these new rules of armed conflict and how will they be enforced?

On February 1, 2013 the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law will examine these issues in a symposium titled, “The Legal and Ethical Limits of Technological Warfare.” Organizers describe this as an opportunity to engage with recognized experts representing different disciplines and perspectives regarding the confluence between technological warfare, the law and ethics. The all-day event, co-sponsored by the Utah Law Review, is free and open to the public. The Utah State Bar has approved 6.5 hours of of CLE credit, including three hours of ethics CLE for attendees.

Amos Guiora, Professor of Law and a retired officer in the Israel Defense Forces, says,  “The symposium is a unique gathering of distinct voices with an extraordinarily broad range of experience including military, policy, law and ethics. In addition to panel discussions amongst subject matter experts the conference will include a scenario based simulation exercise involving all the participants. This unique format will enable panelists and speakers to ponder, interactively, the use of technology in armed conflict from a number of perspectives”.

The symposium begins at 8:30 a.m. with a welcome from Guiora and Dean Hiram Chodosh.  A keynote by Professor Trevor Morrison, a law and national security scholar at Columbia Law School,  titled follows at 9:00.  The first panel, “History of Armed Conflict and Legal Ramifications,” begins at 9:30, and is followed by an 11:00 a.m. panel made up of retired U.S. Military officers who will discuss the “Use of Force.”

Following a provided lunch at 12:30 p.m., the proceedings continue with a panel discussion on the ethics of war at 1:15 p.m.

At 3:15, all of the day’s prior participants will participate in a roundtable and simulation.  At 4:45 p.m., following this event, Guiora will offer concluding remarks. Click to view the Symposium Agenda and list of speakers.

“The Legal and Ethical Limits of Technological Warfare” will run from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Sutherland Moot Courtroom at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law.  Admission is free but an RSVP is requested. A free lunch will be provided for attendees (donations accepted).

The event will be streamed live and archived for future viewing.  For more information or to RSVP, contact Miriam Lovin or call 801-585-3479.