Two Swiss human rights organisations (HROs) have been monitoring computer war games to see if they flout international humanitarian law.
Games, including Modern Warfare: Call Of Duty and Conflict Desert Storm, were played by staff from Trial and Pro Juventute whilst human rights lawyers watched on, assessing if actions that could be carried out by players constituted war crimes or other human rights violations.
Unsurprisingly some games were indeed found to allow such behaviour. The HROs listed the wanton destruction of homes and religious sites, torture, the killing of civilians and execution as examples.
They even looked at how soldiers surrendering and citizens caught up in the conflict were treated and, get this, whether the level of destruction was proportionate.
The HROs have expressed concern that real soldiers’ behaviour could be influenced by the games. Downtime wonders whether it was actually soldiers’ behaviour that influenced the violence in the games.
Moreover, Downtime wonders why these HROs and their lawyers aren’t pursuing real-life war criminals given so few of them seem to be prosecuted.
However, gamers can rest easy as, at the time of writing, there were no plans to prosecute them for breaking the law whilst playing the games – unless they illegally downloaded them.