Innovative Move: Red Cross Tackles War Crimes in Video Games

The Red Cross has inaugurated a campaign, “Play by the Rules,” to encourage gamers to abstain from committing war crimes in first-person shooter games. This debuted on its Twitch channel last week.

Guidelines Include No Thirsting, No Attacking NPCs

The “Play by the Rules” initiative declares the following:

“Countless individuals engage in conflict-zone games from the comfort of their homes daily. However, presently, armed conflicts are more widespread than ever. For those bearing the brunt of these conflicts, the devastation is far from a mere game. It wreaks havoc on lives and shatters communities.”

“Consequently, we challenge you to abide by the authentic Rules of War while playing FPS games, underscoring that even wars have boundaries designed to preserve humanity in real-life battlefields.”

These guidelines encompass “no thirsting,” which implies refraining from continuous shooting at incapacitated, unresponsive enemies, abstaining from attacking NPC, avoiding targeting civilian structures,  and utilizing medical kits for all players, even adversaries in the game.

Red Cross Emphasizes Obligation to Provide Medical Care

The Red Cross emphasizes, “If you possess an unused med kit effective on others, it is obligatory to provide it to those in need—regardless of their allegiance.”

“The Rules of War stipulate that the sick and wounded — irrespective of their affiliation — possess the inalienable right to medical care.”

According to RT, this marks the second occasion in the past decade that Red Cross orchestrated a campaign targeting digital violence, despite real-world victims of violence likely being preoccupied with their own plight.

In 2011, the NGO initiated an exploration into whether the Geneva and Hague Conventions could be applied to video game portrayals of war.

They urged governments to enforce regulations compelling developers to restrict depictions of violations such as torture, extrajudicial killings, civilian attacks, and other heinous acts, if developers were unwilling to do so voluntarily.

Encountering criticism for focusing on virtual atrocities, rather than preventing real-life ones, the ICRC contended that it possessed adequate staff to address both concerns and sought to reassure gamers they would not be subjected to war crime tribunals.

This article appeared in Right Wing Insider and has been published here with permission.