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Prof Robin Geiß

Affiliate Professor and UNIDIR Director

Robin Geiß serves as Director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR). He retains a role as Affiliate Professor at the School of Law, University of Glasgow.

Prior to his departure to UNIDIR, Professor Geiss was Director of the Glasgow Centre for International Law and Security (GCILS) and led the research group on International Law, Conflict and Security.

He was the founding programme director of the Erasmus Mundus Programme in International Law of Global Security, Peace and Development and directed Glasgow’s dual degree programme in the law and politics of global security which he developed together with the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals (IBEI).

Professor Geiß held the Swiss Chair of International Humanitarian Law at the Geneva Academy for International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and was a visiting scholar at the Paris School of International Affairs at Sciences Po, Paris since 2017. Prior to his professorship at the University of Glasgow, he was Professor of International and European Law at the University of Potsdam, Germany and worked as Legal Adviser to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva and as ICRC delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Professor Geiß studied law in Bielefeld, Edinburgh, Kiel (PhD 2003) and at the New York University (LLM 2004), and is a qualified German lawyer (First and Second State Exam).

Professor Geiß has advised international organizations and states, inter alia, in proceedings before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and on matters pertaining to international human rights and international humanitarian law. His advisory work has included mandates from the United Nations, the Red Cross, the German Federal Foreign Office, the World Health Organization, the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn, the Centre for Economic and Social Rights in New York and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. He served as editor of the Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law and on the Lieber Prize committee of the American Society of International Law and was a member of the scientific advisory boards of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs and the Leibniz Science Campus on Transformations and Frictions of Globalization.

Below is a list of key publications. For a full list please click on the following link:

University of Glasgow Profile


The Oxford Handbook of the International Law of Global Security

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The Oxford Handbook of the International Law of Global Security provides a ground-breaking overview of the relationship between international law and global security. It constitutes a comprehensive and systematic mapping of the various sub-fields of international law dealing with global security challenges, and offers authoritative guidance on key trends and debates around the relationship between public international law and global security governance. This Handbook highlights the central role of public international law in an effective global security architecture and, in doing so, addresses some of the most pressing legal and policy challenges of our time. The Handbook features original contributions by leading scholars and practitioners from a wide range of professional and disciplinary backgrounds, reflecting the fluidity of the concept of global security and the diversity of scholarship in this area.

Nils Melzer

The ‘Legal Pluriverse’ Surrounding Multinational Military Operations

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The 'Legal Pluriverse' Surrounding Multinational Military Operations conceptualizes and examines the "Pluriverse": the multiplicity of rules that apply to and regulate contemporary multinational missions, and the array of actors involved. These operations are further complicated by changes to the classification of the conflict, and the asymmetry of obligations on participants. Structured into five parts, this work seeks, through the diversity of its authorship, to set out the web of legal regimes applicable to military operations including forces from more than one state. It maps out the ways in which different regimes interact, beginning with the laws of armed conflict and their relation to international humanitarian and human rights norms, and extending through to areas like law of the sea and environmental law. A variety of contributors systematically compile and take stock of the various legal regimes that make up the pluriverse, assessing how these rules interact, exposing norm conflicts, areas of legal uncertainty, or protective loopholes. In this way, they identify and evaluate approaches to better streamline the different applicable legal frameworks with a view to enhancing cooperation and thereby ensuring the long-term success of multinational military operations.

Heike Krieger

Humanitäres Völkerrecht

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Seit jeher haben Menschen Kriege geführt, und auch heute verursachen Konflikte wie etwa in Syrien, Libyen und Afghanistan immer wieder Tod, Elend und Zerstörung. Seit 1863 gibt es ein internationales Regelwerk - das humanitäre Völkerrecht -, welches darauf abzielt, der Gewalt auch im Krieg Grenzen zu setzen. Der vorliegende Band bietet eine umfassende Einführung in dieses Rechtsgebiet. Die Autoren beschreiben den Inhalt der humanitären Verpflichtungen unter Berücksichtigung aktueller Herausforderungen (Cyber Warfare, autonome Waffen etc.). Grosse Aufmerksamkeit wird auch den Verfahren zur Durchsetzung des Rechts in Konfliktsituationen gewidmet. Die Autoren sind ehemalige Mitarbeiter des Internationalen Komitees vom Roten Kreuz (IKRK) und haben in verschiedenen Funktionen in Konfliktgebieten und im Genfer Hauptquartier gearbeitet.

Hans-Peter Gasser
Nils Melzer

Tallin Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare

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Tallinn Manual 2.0 expands on the highly influential first edition by extending its coverage of the international law governing cyber operations to peacetime legal regimes. The product of a three-year follow-on project by a new group of twenty renowned international law experts, it addresses such topics as sovereignty, state responsibility, human rights, and the law of air, space, and the sea. Tallinn Manual 2.0 identifies 154 'black letter' rules governing cyber operations and provides extensive commentary on each rule. Although Tallinn Manual 2.0 represents the views of the experts in their personal capacity, the project benefitted from the unofficial input of many states and over fifty peer reviewers.

Nils Melzer
Michael N. Schmitt

Autonomous Weapons Systems: Law, Ethics and Policy

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The intense and polemical debate over the legality and morality of weapons systems to which human cognitive functions are delegated (up to and including the capacity to select targets and release weapons without further human intervention) addresses a phenomena which does not yet exist but which is widely claimed to be emergent. This groundbreaking collection combines contributions from roboticists, legal scholars, philosophers and sociologists of science in order to recast the debate in a manner that clarifies key areas and articulates questions for future research. The contributors develop insights with direct policy relevance, including who bears responsibility for autonomous weapons systems, whether they would violate fundamental ethical and legal norms, and how to regulate their development. It is essential reading for those concerned about this emerging phenomenon and its consequences for the future of humanity.

Nehal Bhuta
Susanne Beck
Hin-Yan Liu
Claus Kreβ

Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems: Technology, Definition, Ethics, Law & Security

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The rapid evolution of new military technologies poses significant challenges. Autonomous weapons systems in particular are set to revolutionise the ways wars are fought. The trend towards gradually increasing autonomy in military systems in general and in weapons systems in particular will continue in the future. Various significant strategic and operational advantages are associated with autonomous weapons systems. They are far more capable to adapt to and cope with the complexity, accelerated pace and data processing requirements of the modern battlefield than human soldiers. Factors that may cause stress, wrong decisions, or excess in human soldiers such as fear, anger, or hatred are absent in a robot. And they can perform the dull, dirty, and dangerous tasks and do so without exhaustion or any imminent risk to human life. But the development towards autonomous weapons systems also carries significant risks. Concerns are varied and range from fears of a new arms race; qualms over unpredictable battlefield activities and resultant responsibility gaps; doubts as to these systems’ ability to reliably abide by international humanitarian and human rights law; to ethical concerns over a devaluation of human life and dignity if life and death decisions are ceded to algorithms. Against this background, this edited volume contains a collection of expert opinions delivered at the third CCW informal meeting of experts on lethal autonomous weapons systems in April 2016.