Gamers worried their actions on the virtual battlefield could land them at the Hague war crimes tribunal can relax.
The International Committee of the Red Cross says media reports that it is investigating whether the Geneva Conventions apply to video games are false.
The Swiss-based humanitarian group assured gamers Thursday that “serious violations of the laws of war can only be committed in real-life situations.”
The ICRC says it is nevertheless interested in working with video game makers to promote a better understanding of international humanitarian law because some companies also develop war simulations for armed forces.
In a publication last week, the ICRC raised the war crimes-videogame link.
“While the Movement works vigorously to promote international humanitarian law (IHL) worldwide, there is also an audience of approximately 600 million gamers who may be virtually violating IHL. Exactly how video games influence individuals is a hotly debated topic, but for the first time, Movement partners discussed our role and responsibility to take action against violations of IHL in video games. In a side event, participants were asked: ‘what should we do, and what is the most effective method?’ While National Societies shared their experiences and opinions, there is clearly no simple answer.
“There is, however, an overall consensus and motivation to take action.”
The group also trains armies in how to abide by the rules of war that forbid targeting civilians, medics and captured combatants.
However, on Thursday, Wired News reported that virtual trainers need to be wary.
“Christian Rouffaer, head of the ICRC’s international humanitarian law and videogames project, says that ‘a soldier trained on a computer or by any other means to shoot wounded enemy combatants would probably not be the only one to be prosecuted as it is primarily the responsibility of his commander to train, educate and to give him lawful orders,'” Wired reported.
“In other words according to Rouffaer, military training that violates the Geneva Conventions is still a crime — even if that training is virtual.”
Get the latest news alerts: Follow WRAL Tech Wire at Twitter.