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Professor Robin Geiß

Director of the GCILS

Robin Geiß holds the Chair of International Law and Security at the University of Glasgow and is Director of the Glasgow Centre for International Law and Security. He also leads the research group on International Law, Conflict and Security and directs the LLM in international law and security as well as the dual degree programme in the law and politics of global security.

Professor Geiß also holds the Swiss Chair of International Humanitarian Law at the Geneva Academy for International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and is a faculty member of the Paris School of International Affairs at Sciences Po, Paris. Previously, he was Professor of International and European Law at the University of Potsdam. Prior to that, he 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 is editor of the Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law, a member of the Lieber Prize committee of the American Society of International Law and 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.

Publications

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.

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Robin Geiß, Nehal Bhuta, Susanne Beck, Hin-Yan Liu and 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.

Humanizing the Laws of War: The Red Cross and the Development of International Humanitarian Law

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Over the past 150 years, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been one of the main drivers of progressive development in international humanitarian law, whilst assuming various roles in the humanization of the laws of war. With select contributions from international experts, this book critically assesses the ICRC's unique influence in international norm creation. It provides a detailed analysis of the workings of the International Red Cross, Red Crescent Movement and ICRC by addressing the milestone achievements as well as the failures, shortcomings and controversies over time. Crucially, the contributions highlight the lessons to be learnt for future challenges in the development of international humanitarian law. This book will be of particular interest to scholars and students of international law, but also to practitioners working in the field of international humanitarian law at both governmental and non-governmental organizations.

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Robin Geiß, Andreas Zimmermann and Stefanie Haumer

Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea: The Legal Framework for Counter-Piracy Operations in Somalia and the Gulf of Aden

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Since 2008 increasing pirate activities in Somalia, the Gulf of Aden, and the Indian Ocean have once again drawn the international community's attention to piracy and armed robbery at sea. States are resolved to repress these impediments to the free flow of trade and navigation. To this end, a number of multinational counter-piracy missions have been deployed to the region. This book describes the enforcement powers that States may rely upon in their quest to repress piracy in the larger Gulf of Aden region. The piracy rules of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the legal safeguards applicable to maritime interception operations are scrutinized before the analysis turns to the criminal prosecution of pirates and armed robbers at sea. The discussion includes so-called shiprider agreements, the transfers of alleged offenders to regional states, the jurisdictional bases for prosecuting pirates, and the feasibility of an international(ized) venue for their trial. In addressing a range of relevant issues, this book presents a detailed and comprehensive up-to-date analysis of the legal issues pertaining to the repression of piracy and armed robbery at sea and assesses whether the currently existing legal regime is still adequate to effectively counter piracy in the 21st century.

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Robin Geiß and Anna Petrig