"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?'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.
"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."