back to article Red Cross: 600m videogamers may be war criminals

Move aside, Milosevic. Out of the way, al-Bashir. It's the world's videogamers who should be hauled up on war crimes charges, some members of the Red Cross seem to think. During the 31st International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, which took place in Geneva last week, attendees were asked to consider what …


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  1. The BigYin

    Not the same

    It's one thing to find that piece of enemy scum, place your crosshairs over them and blow their brains out in a game. It's quite another to do it in real life where one knows someone is actually going to get hurt/killed. And the kind of person who would willingly do it IRL is so far gone, I rather doubt the game has much influence.

    Are they considering "Risk" a breach of human rights as well? Chess?

    This is just a piece of PR grabbing straight from the PeTA game book and it is shameful for an institution such as the Red Cross to stoop so low.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > This is just a piece of PR grabbing straight from the PeTA game book and it is shameful for an institution such as the Red Cross to stoop so low.

      They didn't, they just stuck a note on a conference agenda. This story is essentially just click bait bullshit from the Daily Mail and various other sensationalist crap spraying outfits.

      The red cross are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing at a red cross conference; debating issues that may have an impact on IHL and finding ways to promote awareness of this law.

    2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      US not only uses video games to train armed forces, now uses them to fight.

      YOU CAN use your PC, XBox, or Wii to fly an ACTUAL "Predator" drone from Afghanistan to Pakistan for a unilateral strike on Islamabad.

      Well, I hope YOU in fact can't. But THEY can.

      Recently all their PCs got viruses, remember...

      So, maybe that video game SHOULD have a drop-down Geneva Conventions cheat sheet.

  2. M man
    Thumb Down


    one cause two effects.



  3. goats in pajamas

    Meanwhile, back in the real world

    America still hasn't closed Guantanamo, the UK still locks unaccompanied immigrant children up indefinitely, Syria is a nightmare, Iraq is a nightmare and Afghanistan is a nightmare, but hey, lets go after game players hey?

    Remind me what the Red Cross is for again...

    1. Yag

      Don't forget the main evidence of war crimes...

      War crimes are ALWAYS performed by the loser.

      However, there is the good ol' motto : "War does not determine who is right, only who is left" :)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Assuming they ARE 'virtually' breaching IHL then I expect the punishment to be 'virtual' prison for your characters - could be quite funny.

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Why not?

      ISTR in America's Army or whatever it was called if you broke the rules you ended up in a virtual Leavenworth.

  5. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

    Has April 1st come early?

    I'd better go turn myself in for dangerous driving and the attempted robbery of a stash of gold from Steve Frizelli after playing the Italian job last night.

  6. Tim Greenwood

    Hide the chart !

    Don't let that chart out into the open. It appears to show that violent video games don't lead to violent people and that must be wrong. Even if it was true we must not let that get in the way of a good story.

    1. Ian 14
      Black Helicopters

      ... someone might spot the real correlation.

      Given that's a chart of violent crime in the US ... I wonder how well the drop correlates to the movement of US troops out of the US to overseas?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Mostly because ...

      ... it doesn't prove anything one way or the other. There's no methodology or mention of even the lightest attempt to et ceteris paribus.

      As we all know, correlation isn't causation, and similarly, a lack of a correlation does not imply a lack of causation. Because of all those other pesky variables the chart doesn't bother with.

      Slapping a chart in, in the hope that it proves something is Daily Mail journalism at its best, and Tim, you appear to be a candidate for Daily Mail Reader of the Year.

  7. Amonynous

    By the same flawed logic, someone in the Red Cross should be done for GBH or even murder...

    Take a look at one of their 'powerful' adverts, here:

    Specifically the second photo, showing the woman collapsed at the bottom of an escalator. Someone the the RC or their advertising agency is clearly responsible for pushing this poor woman down the escalator, conking her on the back of the head or maybe even posioning her!

    Oh, hang on a minute! It's not reality and it didn't actually happen. See that great and good people of the RC? I can tell the difference, but you are clearly incapable of doing so.

  8. Miek
    Thumb Down

    Have they not got anything better to do ? Virtual Human Beings are not assigned any form of Human Rights as they are not actually Humans but the virtual representation of Humans.

    Perhaps the Red Cross would prefer that 600M gamers sign up to the armed forces and get stuck into a Deathmatch for real? Pass the AK

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    If most of the people buying violent computer games are children then will the violence not start until they grow up?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Erm, that would be "No".

  10. Thomas 4


    So the Red Cross are against me killing people in online gaming but are cool with RAMPANT ANIMAL CRUELTY?

    I shall now say something that has never been said before and will never be said again: Where are PETA when you need them?

  11. Paul Dx

    Why not build a court house in Sadville so all these virtual war criminals can be put on trial.

    Alternatively, just FOAD.

  12. MJI Silver badge

    Looking at my online gaming I'm OK

    As in the words of Jorhan Stahl

    "Stockholm? What planet do you think you're on?"

    I know they mean Geneva but it sounds good.

  13. yoinkster
    Thumb Down

    Nutjob says things that a nutjob would say.

    Sounds about right. Reason #489576348957 to ignore these clowns and their ilk.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Book 'em, Dan-O.

  15. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    600 million games with 1 violation a minute = problem virtually solved in 11 minutes

    "In a side event, participants were asked: “what should we do, and what is the most effective method?” While National Societies shared their experiences and opinions, there is clearly no simple answer. There is, however, an overall consensus and motivation to take action."

    I am donating for this kinda shit?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I am donating for this kinda shit?"

      If you've been donating to the RC then I guess so. I have a suspicion that you won't in future and I wouldn't blame you. If they think this is a serious topic for discussion then the delegates have clearly stepped too far away from reality and the fundamental aims of the Red Cross, and they are in grave danger of losing future donations.

  16. frank ly

    As a matter of interest....

    .. what is (would be) the legal status of extraterrestrial visitors? I don't think the law is ready for them even if gun toting survivalists might be.

  17. Simbu

    Shot themselves in the foot!

    If they have the resources to spend money discussing something THIS stupid... they clearly don't need any more charidee money!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have we run out of actual war crimes already? Or does the Red Cross genuinely believe virtual "war crimes" are worth going after.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    human rights? animal rights? alien rights?

    So virtual humans in games should not be killed... then neither should animals be harmed (angry birds), aliens shot down despite their aggressive attacks? (space invaders)...... so can we look forward to a 40billion dollar creative industry in pong, tetris and farm ville?

  20. DrXym

    So what games are these?

    I'm not aware of any mainstream military shooter game that lets a player gun down civilians and get away with it.

  21. RyokuMas


    You have just unlocked the achievement: "War Criminal"!

    ... I'll get me coat. It's the one covered in the (pixellated) blood of the innocent.

  22. tmTM


    What is the Red Cross's stance on this?? is it contrary to IHL??

    1. ledmil

      Re: Tea-Bagging

      tmTM, you owe me a new laptop keyboard :)

      The vision of a BF3 toon tea-bagging a knifed enemy then having some RC person come out telling them off was funny as.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'll bet they don't like Postal 2!

  24. g e


    The publicity account must be running dry for this one, trying to scamp a freebie column inch or two, Red Cross?

    What they fail to note is that the curve also matches to proliferation of Android Smartphones, something crapple has been at pains to try & prevent by whatever means necessary. Google are the obvious ones to drag into court here, so, Mr Red Cross, get drafting that writ!

    Apple. Humanitarian philanthropists. Whodathunkit?

  25. tekgun

    Are my crimes made worse by the fact I use the taunt after every kill in TF2?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Ah, TF2. Virtual war crimes done humorously.

  26. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    A side-issue

    If you follow the link, you see that this was a discussion held at a side-event and therefore presumably involved a small and self-selecting group of people rather than the sane majority.

    I imagine it will never be Red Cross policy to campaign on this issue because the vast majority of the donating public would close wallets if they thought their donations were being spent on this. It's not like the world is short of good causes to donate money to.

  27. Schultz
    Thumb Up

    Time to go online...

    And punish those war criminals in the harshest possible way. Finally a good reason to play those violent games!

  28. itzman

    Oh dear oh dear.

    Let's extend that to books..out goes all of Harry potter, George Orwell, Tolkien (trolls and orcs have rights too, as does poor old Gollum, a victim if there ever was one)

    we'd better ban ALL of John Buchan and the whole cowboys and injuns genera too.. While we are at it 99% of chiclit is discriminatory and insulting to women., and Biggles is so full of violence murder and gender, race and political stereotypes that is really not to be tolerated...

    ..and we can finish up with Teletubbies, which is a total insult to humanity in general, and, frankly, if I'd been brought up on it, I'd be so deeply scarred by the experience I too would pick up the crack pipe and a machete and go out looking for the sort of people who thought it was a good thing for children to be exposed to....

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Nah, you don't take out the books. You simply sue the authors and make them cough up a huge amount of cash so that they learn not to do it again. Esp. in the case of Harry Potter this might be very lucrative for the Red Cross.

      "Helping people? Well, that will just have to wait, this is more important because it will allow us to help even MORE people.".

  29. Matt_payne666

    dont let the police see this.....

    or they will get all sorts of ideas... think of all the virtual speeders playing outrun or need for speed which could be ticketed...

    christ... imagination is just make belive! games are make belive! get a grip and do some good with REAL injustice....

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Oh dear

      Or dear I have done over 200 on GT5

  30. JWS


    Idiots! Which sane person would even think to ask this question...

  31. SiempreTuna
    Thumb Down


    How about some examples from THIS millenium - it's not like we're short of 'em: Bush, Blair and their entire cabinets (given collective cabinet responsibility).

    The whole War Criminal concept comes from Nuremburg where the Nazis were prosecuted for using lies, deceit and misrepresentation to 'justify' invading sovereign nations- sound familiar?

    As for the RC: leave the gamers alone and go after THESE f*****s!

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    this is why I never signed the Geneva conventions when I bought my xbox. So hopefully I'm in the clear :)

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think this is a good idea... in theory.

    Theory being that if people can't accept that lolicon and other drawn pornography (Dangerous Cartoons Act) != children; then they should have to obey this quite obviously retarded humanitarian crap which treats fictional video game characters as "real people." (Murder is a crime, don't forget.)

    I'm sorry, but you can't have one and not the other. It's either both or not at all.

  34. Swallowtail
    Big Brother

    In other news...

    ...the police are to start issuing speeding fines and points on licenses for anyone who speeds in Gran Turismo or another racing game.

  35. Lockwood

    C&C 5: The Hague.

  36. bitten

    No criminals yet, but once our 'rent a drone' services will be started, we will ... be very patriotic.

  37. Mark C 2


    If you show the graph of Italian sovereign debt against incidences of piracy off the coats of Somalia you see that it proves beyond all doubt that Somalian pirates are responsible for the Italian debt crisis.

    Pirates....because they AAAAARRRRGGGH

  38. Stef 4

    I'm virtually speechless.

    In all the war games, there are hoards of enemies charging at me with the single goal of using my nipples for target practice. Damn right I shoot them back. They've just virtually invaded my virtual country, I am virtually going to virtually shoot them virtually with my virtual gun.


    So... If the Russia really did invade the US (as per MW2 and 3) and the US troops returned fire while defending their country, those US troops are committing war-crimes?

    Dear Mr. Red Cross,

    Are you sure? Did you invent your own game where you abuse civilians, and then complain about it? Aren't you all guilty of horrific war crimes yourselves by playing these games in the name of 'research'?

    Yours sincerely,

    Barry Shitpeas.

  39. Dave 15

    I'm sure we are all heartily warmed by the knowledge our hard earned is so wisely spent

    As someone else questioned - we donate money for this?

  40. BlinkenLights

    I Am God

    # Give life to 1 million kittens

    for i = 1 to 1000000


    create kitten(i)


    # Kill 1 million kittens

    for i = 1 to 1000000


    delete kitten(i)


  41. OmegaPoint

    Does this mean Playstation HOME will be getting Supreme Court and Prison add-ons?

    1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)


      Run, Sackcloth-and-ashes Boy, run.

  42. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    oh god

    I best start running and hiding

    Because I played Def-con the other day and nuked to death 200 million people.......

    Wonder what I'd get for getting skyrim out and going on a mad killing spree?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      nuked to death ?

      Honestly, I don't think you need to add "to death" after "nuked". It's a given.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Nah, games like Fallout show that sometimes there's live after the Nuke still :-)

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm a bad man

    I once hit a chicken over and over again in zelda? Does this count as animal cruelty?

  44. Old Handle

    Oddly familiar

    Didn't they also claim some time ago that video games were breaking the law by using the red cross logo to signify first aid kits without having a license or some such?

    1. Steven Roper

      Cross as a trademarked logo

      They'd have to run that by Switzerland, Victorinox and a certain widely-spread mainstream religion, all of which predate the Red Cross by some decades or centuries...

      1. SYNTAX__ERROR
        Thumb Down


        It is severely frowned upon for any other organisation to use the Red Cross symbol, as it undermines their position as neutral to combat on the battlefield.

        In other uses such as stage acting, a green cross is encouraged instead which conveys the meaning without upsetting anybody.

  45. Anonymous Coward

    And if you like this....

    Just wait until you see what PETA and the Audubon Society have in store for Angry Birds enthusiasts!! I'm told it involves tar and humanely harvested feathers.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reverse Synesthesia

    I am reminded that this is the same bunch who found it economic to replace donated

    blood from Canada (which was resold at a premium $), with bargain-brand squeezings

    from US prisons.

    Looks like the bats at the Red Cross are confusing the smell of money

    with the smell of blood, instead of vice-versa this time.

    Anonymous 'cause I dig the masque.


  47. Some Beggar

    This has already been posted

    but since people are still foaming as if this were a real piece of news rather than a bit of tabloid flimflam, here it is again:

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well the violent crimes is per 1000

    I think that lends as much creedence to genetic transfer and poor nurture as it does video games.

    But anyone wanting to really see the effect of violent games without law needs to spend some time in 0.0 or wormhole space in Eve Online.

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