Closing date

What we do

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) works worldwide to provide humanitarian assistance to people affected by conflict and armed violence. We take action in response to emergencies and at the same time promote respect for international humanitarian law. We are an independent and neutral organization, and our mandate stems essentially from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. We work closely with National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and with their International Federation in order to ensure a concerted, rational and rapid humanitarian response to the needs of the victims of armed conflict or any other situation of internal violence. We direct and coordinate the international activities conducted in these situations.


The Arms and Conduct of Hostilities Unit is part of the Legal Division. It leads the development and promotion of ICRC positions, strategies and activities in the field of the reaffirmation, clarification and development of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), with respect to the rules governing the conduct of hostilities, the use of weapons, including treaties prohibiting or regulating weapons of humanitarian concern, and new technologies of warfare. It represents the ICRC’s positions in bilateral discussions with government and military representatives and in multilateral fora and academic settings. It notably represents the ICRC in multilateral negotiations and proposes the development of new rules or standards related to the conduct of hostilities and to weapons in response to humanitarian consequences witnessed in ICRC field operations or which may result from new scientific and technical developments.

Purpose of the position

Acting as an in-house reference, the Adviser provides scientific and policy expertise to support the ICRC’s effects-based approach to weapons and IHL. The Adviser is responsible to monitor and analyse the technological developments, in particular with regard to digital technologies, that pertain to, or may be used as, means and methods of warfare, and the concern they raise, from a multidisciplinary perspective (humanitarian, technical, military, ethical, policy and legal), and to propose policy or other positions on these issues. The analysis of the development and use of new technologies of warfare, in particular digital ones, are a priority of the Unit, and of the Department as a whole.


  • Internally, interacts with relevant colleagues, head of units and division at headquarter and in the field, including in particular with JUR, FAS, PROT, and DTD;
  • Externally, interacts with State officials including militaries, UN representatives, movement partners, civil societies representatives, academia, think tanks, civilian and military research centres, and tech. companies.

Main duties & responsibilities

The Adviser’s main responsibilities will be:

  • To follow technological developments that pertain to, or may be used as, means and methods of warfare, with a particular focus on digital technologies;
  • To analyse the foreseeable humanitarian impact of new technologies of warfare, in particular digital technologies, and the concern they may raise, from a multidisciplinary perspective (humanitarian, technical, military, ethical, policy and legal);
  • To provide scientific and other advice in support of an analysis of these new technologies of warfare under IHL and other relevant bodies of international law;
  • To propose and develop policy or other positions, with regard to new technologies of warfare;
  • To contribute to the ICRC’s reflection on the strategies to be followed in relation to the development of new technologies of warfare and the potential need to reaffirm, clarify or further develop IHL;
  • To contribute to shaping international debate and processes on new technologies of warfare with a view to advancing the ICRC’s objectives. In particular, to promote ICRC’s views and positions in a variety of fora, such as multilateral processes, discussions with States and militaries, meetings of experts, conferences, training seminars, etc.; to initiate and organise such discussions and meetings as appropriate;
  • To maintain and develop the ICRC multistakeholder network of multidisciplinary experts and organisations, including from government, military, civil society and relevant tech companies.

Training & experience

  • Expertise in new and developing weapons’ technologies, in particular, digital technologies used as weapons, means and methods of warfare (e.g. cyber operations, autonomous weapons, use of artificial intelligence for military purpose, etc.), and in their effects;
  • Experience in policy-making in the area of arms/weapons control or disarmament, and/or technology assessment and governance; experience of multilateral negotiations and other policy processes would be an asset;
  • University or equivalent training in science, science and technology, international relations, international law, and/or another field relevant to the analysis of developments in weapons, means and methods of warfare technologies, in particular digital ones;
  • Operational experience in the use of relevant weapon’s technology (cyber operations, autonomous weapons, AI, etc.) would be an asset;
  • Knowledge of international humanitarian law, arms control and disarmament treaties, and/or international instruments for the governance of weapons would be an asset;
  • Experience in organizing and successfully conducting expert meetings, workshop or other events, in person and online, with a variety of audiences and participants would be an asset;
  • At least 5-7 years of relevant professional experience.

Skills & qualifications

  • Well-developed research and writing skills with an ability to analyse, summarize and popularize technical aspects of new technologies;
  • Ability to work in a multidisciplinary environment and to work with concepts from other fields, in particular, legal concepts;
  • Excellent ability to communicate with diverse, lay and expert audiences, especially to present complex technical issues clearly and concisely;
  • Ability to represent the ICRC, especially in exchanging in an autonomous and efficient manner with specialized academics, technical experts, military personnel, diplomats and industry representatives;
  • Excellent command of spoken and written English. Knowledge of French, Russian, Chinese, Spanish or Arabic, at least passive, would be an asset;
  • Openness to dialogue and good interpersonal skills;
  • Proven ability to work in a team.

Additional information

  • Location: Geneva
  • Type of contract: Open-ended contract
  • Activity rate: 100%
  • Estimated start date: July 2021
  • Application deadline: Sunday, the 28th of March 2021

The ICRC values diversity and is committed to creating an inclusive working environment. We welcome applications from all qualified candidates.

How to apply

Apply through our career site here: https://bit.ly/3pAZB72