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Laura Guercio

Professor at the University “Niccolò Cusano”, Rome / Secretary General UNETCHAC (Universities Network for Children in Armed Conflict)

Laura Guercio is professor of “International Relations and Intelligence Systems” at the University Cusano Rome;Member of the Council of the European Law Institute in Vienna; Counsel (for victims) before the International Criminal Court, The Hague; OSCE Moscow Mechanism Expert (Member of the Moscow Mechanism Mission Ukraine);SG of the Universities Network for Children in Armed Conflict; Secretary-General of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Human Rights at the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs (2017-2020); Agent of the Management Board of the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (2015-2020); Experts in international projects and Missions(carried out by the European Union; OSCE; Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Lybia, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Giordan, Kosovo, Swaziland

Laura holds a Ph.D. in Social Science at the University of Genoa in conjunction with Trinity College Dublin; Master's Degree of Law at the University of Rome La Sapienza; Master's Degree of Political Science Politics and Economics of the Mediterranean Region at the University of Genoa; Master’s Degree of International Relations at the Queen Mary University London.

AI and Future Perspectives of the International Humanitarian Law in Conflict Settings: a focus on Children in Armed Conflict

The emergence of AI has revolutionized various aspects of our lives, but it also presents unique challenges in the context of armed conflicts. As we discuss the future of IHL, we must recognize the impact of AI on the way wars are waged and the potential consequences it may have, especially on the most vulnerable members of society – children. AI has already demonstrated its potential in improving humanitarian responses and providing valuable data insights. However, its use in armed conflict scenarios is not without risks. One of the most pressing concerns is the development and deployment of autonomous weapons systems. These weapons, equipped with AI-driven decision-making capabilities, raise serious ethical and legal questions. The ability of such weapons to act without human intervention blurs the lines of accountability, making it challenging to attribute responsibility for any potential war crimes. When we focus on children in armed conflict, the stakes become even higher. Children are uniquely susceptible to the horrors of war and its aftermath. They face a multitude of threats, including recruitment as child soldiers, sexual violence, displacement, and the destruction of their schools and hospitals. AI applications in warfare may inadvertently increase these risks, as they could be used in child recruitment processes or lead to unintended civilian casualties, including children. As a consequence, there are several critical aspects that require the international community’s attention; indeed, a review of international agreements and protocols governing the development, deployment, and use of autonomous weapons systems must be adopted in order to establish a cohesive framework that safeguards human rights and humanitarian principles.

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