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War Crimes Avoidance & Detection: Battlefield Management Systems

NCJ Number
Nyagudi Musandu Nyagudi
Date Published
April 2012
20 pages
Recognizing that almost any armed conflict, whether it involves national military forces or non-state actors, will result in allegations of war crimes and calls for investigations and prosecutions, this paper discusses how humanitarian conditions can be improved in a battle-space by using a Battlefield Management System (BMS).
The function of a BMS is to obtain as much information as possible on what is occurring on the battlefield, so as to ensure compliance with international law in the conflict. An effective BMS will incorporate hardware platforms, software environments, network-protocols, sensors, data, informatics, and system users. An efficient and effective BMS requires experienced, skilled operators who can understand tactical information being supplied from the battlefield. A qualified BMS operator may not always be a military commander. The minimal skills set for a BMS operator are professional or academic information systems proficiency certification and an understanding of the art of warfare, both historical and contemporary. A proficient operator will search for information from the BMS and analyze it. If the required information on battlefield operations is not available, the operator must demand that appropriate persons supply it. Based on information received from the battlefield, the BMS operator informs battlefield leaders about the requirements of International Humanitarian Law without compromising tactical advantage. This requires that BMS operators be familiar with such law and what it requires of military personnel in the field. BMS operators must also ensure that data put into the BMS is safe from repudiation or fabrication if it is to be the basis for regulating military conduct and military investigations. A 22-item bibliography