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Report of the 2nd ICMM Workshop on Military Medical Ethical Dilemmas in Disaster Relief, Humanitarian Missions and Conflicts


2nd ICMM Workshop on Military Medical Ethical
Dilemmas in Disaster Relief,
Humanitarian Missions and Conflicts

Lilienberg, Switzerland

19-21 April, 2012




Venue: CH-8272 Ermatingen, Unternehmerforum Lilienberg, by the Lake Constance, in Switzerland.
Dates: from Thursday 19 March to Saturday 21 April 2012
ICMM Delegation: Maj Gen Prof. M. MERLIN (MD), Chairman of the Scientific Council.
Patronage: Major General A. STETTBACHER (MD), Surgeon General of the Swiss Armed Forces; Prof. Dr. P. SCHABER (University of Zürich)
Scientific Coordination: Col. Prof. H.U. BAER (MD), Director of the MU-CE); Col M. BÄCHTOLD (Vice Director of the MU-CE); Dr. phil. D. MESSELKEN (University of Zürich)
Congress language: The official language of the workshop was English.

Program of the Workshop
Thursday 19 April 2012
- Law, Ethics, and War.
- Decision Making in Medical Ethics
Friday 20 April 2011
- Military Medical Ethics (1): Level of Care for the Local Population
- Military Medical Ethics (2): Intercultural Ethical Aspects during Deployment
Saturday 21 April
- The Special Role of the Medical Officer: physician and soldier at the same time?

Eight lectures were delivered in five sessions:
- Dr. B. BOOTHBY (UK) – « Ethical origins of the law of armed conflict ».
- Sigrid MEHRING, LL.M. (NL, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law) – « Legal Aspects of Physicians’ Involvement in Armed Conflicts ».
- Don CARRICK (U.K Defence Academy) – « Military Medical Ethics for the 21st century ».
- Col. Prof. H.U. BAER (ICMM Reference Centre on Education on International Humanitarian Law and Ethics)– « t.b.a (Role Play) »
- Dr. P. BOUVIER (MD, MSc, ICRC Senior medical advisor)- « The duty to provide care to the wounded or sick enemy: grounds, scope and implications ».
- AHMAD (Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, UK) – « Intercultural Aspects of Disaster Medicine ».
- HUBER-HOTZ (University of Berne, Switzerland)– « Saving lives – changing minds”. Ethical Challenges for a National Red Cross Society ».
- Dr. phil. D. MESSELKEN (University of Zurich, ICMM Reference Centre on Education on International Humanitarian Law and Ethics)– « Ethical reflections on the role of the medical officer ».

All key-note lectures were followed and further illustrated by case analysis performed in two discussion groups.

The workshop gathered 54 participants and experts (from International Organizations, Universities and Military Medical Services), coming from all continents.
Four Surgeon Generals of ICMM member states have been actively participating in all the debates of the workshop: AVM
Reksoprodjo MARIONO (Indonesia), Lt Gen V.I. RAMLAKAN (South Africa), Maj Gen A. STETTBACHER (Switzerland) and Brig Gen M.K. CHEBBI (Tunisia).

Further Developments
On Friday the 20th, the Chief of the Swiss Armed Forces, Lt Gen. BLATTMAN, visited the Workshop. In his speech, he reminded the audience on the present challenges including asymmetric conflicts and the limits of the « Jus in bello ». He pointed out that ethical behaviour is essential for successful international operations and peace-keeping missions. In this light, he was pleased that Switzerland can contribute to discussion and teaching of this topic by hosting the ICMM workshop and confirmed the support of the Swiss Armed Forces to sustain the process.

The evaluation of the workshop gave a very encouraging result. In general, the workshop was highly appreciated by the participants of the survey. All participants in the evaluation survey rated the workshop as a whole positively. All participants recommended to organize further workshops. This 2nd Workshop confirmed the need for this kind of exchange between different cultures and professions in order to come to a sound ethical analysis of topical issues.