Friday, December 9, 2011

Helicity Boson, The Mittani Not To Face Real World War Crimes Charges

In what I hope is not a stunning developement, the International Red Cross will not have Helicity Boson or The Mittani, co-organizers of Hulkageddon V, dragged before the International Criminal Court in The Hague to face war crimes charges.  Apparently a story was circulating among news sources on the Internet stating that the Red Cross wanted to charge players of any game, not just Eve Online, with war crimes conducted within video games that violated the Geneva Conventions on War.  But yesterday mainstream media sources knocked down the story.  The Associated Press reported:
"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."
Why would the rumor ever begin?  Apparently it began at the 31st International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in Geneva, Switzerland when the famous humanitarian body held a side event in which the influence of video games was discussed.  The Kotaku coverage of the event included this passage that I think sparked the rumors:
"While the Movement works vigorously to promote international humanitarian law worldwide, there is also an audience of approximately 600 million gamers who may be virtually violating IHL," according to the event's description. "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."

Reached for comment earlier this week, Alexandra Boivin, head of the Civil Society Relations Unit's Department of International Law and Cooperation for the committee, declined to discuss their findings yet.

"Unfortunately, it is too early in the discussion to share our views publicly," Boivin told Kotaku. "We will be posting some information on the ICRC's website in the weeks to come, with a view to stating and explaining our interest in the topic."
This look at behavior in video games goes back a few years and last week's efforts were based, at least in part, on the award-winning The Playing By The Rules project from TRIAL, a Swiss-based NGO.  While the project looked at first-person shooters and not MMORPG's, I am sure that as we see the development of more MMOFPS like Planetside 2 and CCP's DUST 514, MMOs will begin to see their share of scrutiny in this area.  But in the meantime, Helicity Boson and The Mittani are free to conduct Hulkageddon V with no fear of being hauled to The Hague. But this being Eve, you know someone is going to try it anyway.


  1. Damn, here I was wishing to shake hands with Mittens and Helicity in Holland..

  2. In Helicity's case, that might not be so difficult.

  3. Please keep us posted on the Red Cross's attempts to promote international humanitarian law in Eve Online. Possibly they could give a talk to the Eve Uni who may then be persuaded to upload it. I'd particularly like to understand better which article covers the treatment of awoxers.

    And I do hope no one is crass enough to point out that we have very large numbers of real people - men, women and children - being subjected to death and torture and even genocide at the hands of military forces all around the world.

  4. Yes, I forgot that Helicity already lives in The Hague. He pointed that out on Twitter.

  5. The planner until now has been Helicity Boson; the occurrence also has started a carebear reply known as Griefergeddon sorted.