Red Cross Wants Real Life Laws Enforced Within Virtual Worlds
from the reality-fiction-all-the-same dept
Kotaku has published an article in which the International Committee of the Red Cross proposes that real life laws such as the Geneva and Hague Conventions should be enforced within video games. Before you get too riled up, they are not proposing that video game players be locked up and punished for war crimes for actions performed within the game, but are rather proposing that game designers program those conventions into the games.
In computer and video games, violence is often shown and the players become ‘virtually violent’. However, such games are not zones free of rules and ethics. It would be highly appreciated if games reproducing armed conflicts were to include the rules which apply to real armed conflicts. These rules and values are given by international humanitarian law and human rights law. They limit excessive violence and protect the human dignity of members of particularly vulnerable groups.
The practically complete absence of rules or sanctions is nevertheless astonishing: civilians or protected objects such as churches or mosques can be attacked with impunity, in scenes portraying interrogations it is possible to torture, degrade or treat the prisoner inhumanely without being sanctioned for it and extrajudicial executions are simulated.
These types of arguments are very similar to the arguments made by those who have requested laws regulating violence in video games in the past. Those people argued that the lack of consequences in the game would influence player behavior in real life. We know that the US Supreme Court rejected those arguments as the science behind them was not sound. But we all know that pesky court rulings never get in the way of those who want to control human behavior.
The Red Cross is looking to have game developers to voluntarily include these laws within the game world noting that some developers already take the time to do it. If that fails, it has no qualms about getting the government involved.
One possible course of action could be to encourage game designers/producers to incorporate IHL in the development and design of video games, while another could be to encourage governments to adopt laws and regulations to regulate this ever-growing industry.
I don’t know why they think that a law regulating this would succeed, especially this soon after the US Supreme Court ruled that such laws are a violation of the US Constitution. Even with all that, such a law would be just as pointless as applying it to a movie such as Commando or Rambo. People look to entertainment as an escape from reality. Why would they want to play a video game that would end up with them being punished for war crimes? That doesn’t sound like fun to me.