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Report of the 3rd ICMM Workshop on Military Medical Ethical Dilemmas in Disaster Relief, Humanitarian Missions and Conflict


3rd ICMM Workshop on Military Medical Ethical
Dilemmas in Disaster Relief,
Humanitarian Missions and Conflicts

Lilienberg, Switzerland

17-20 April, 2013



Report of the 3rd ICMM Workshop on Military Medical Ethical
Dilemmas in Disaster Relief,
Humanitarian Missions and Conflict

Venue: Ermatingen, Unternehmerforum Lilienberg, by the Lake Constance, in Switzerland from Wednesday 17 April to Saturday 20 April 2013.
ICMM Delegation: Maj Gen (ret) R. VAN HOOF (MD), ICMM Secretary General and Maj Gen Prof. (ret) M. MERLIN (MD), Chairman of the ICMM 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; Dr. phil. D. MESSELKEN (University of Zürich).
Workshop organization: Swiss Armed Forces, Medical Services Directorate.
Congress language: English.


Wednesday 17 April
Arrival in Zurich airport, transport by road to the conference venue organized by the Swiss Armed Forces.

Thursday 18 April
Welcome address by Maj Gen A. Stettbacher

Plenary Session I
: Introduction to Law, Battlefield Experiences, chaired by Maj Gen R. VAN HOOF
- Ethical Origins of the Law of Armed Conflicts.
- Experience and Questions from the Battlefields.

Plenary Session II: The Notion of “Necessity” in War in Ethics and IHL, chaired by Col. J. CROUSE.
- Military Necessity and Military Medical Ethics.
- Necessity/ Proportionality in IHL.

Friday 19 April
Plenary Session III: Ethics in Disaster Response and PKO, chaired by Col. H.U. BAER.
- Ethics in Disaster Response.
- Military Medical Ethics in Peace Keeping Operations (PKO).

Plenary Session IV: Ethical Aspects of Intercultural Encounter, chaired by Dr A. AHMAD.
- Panel Discussion on Intercultural interactions in disaster medicine.

Plenary Session V.1: Ethical Challenges for the Medical Officer, chaired by Dr B. KOCH.
- Mercy Killing – Legal and Moral Aspects

Saturday 20 April
Plenary Session V.2: Ethical Challenges for the Medical Officer, chaired by Maj Gen M. MERLIN.
- Triage and Prioritization.
- The ethics of Amputation.

Eight lectures were delivered in five sessions:
B. BOOTHBY (UK) - "Ethical origins of the law of armed conflict".
J. RICARD (Canada) - "Experience and questions from the Battlefields".
M. GROSS (Israel) - "Military Necessity and Military Medical Ethics".
C. VON EINEM (Germany) - "Necessity and proportionality in IHL".
C. CLARINVAL (Switzerland) - “Ethics in Disaster Response”.
L. NEMETH (Hungary) - "Military Medical Ethics in Peace Keeping Operations (PKO)".
S. FOURNIER (Canada) and D. MESSELKEN (Germany) - "Mercy Killing - Legal and Moral Aspects".
M. BARILAN (Israel) - "Triage and Prioritization”.
A. STETTBACHER (Switzerland) - "The Ethics of Amputation".

All keynote lectures were followed by discussion in plenary. The lecture on "Mercy Killing - Legal and Moral Aspects" was followed and illustrated by case analysis.

The Panel Discussion on “Intercultural Interactions in Disaster Medicine” was moderated and animated by a panel of six experts: A. AHMAD (United Kingdom), R. ALLANI (Tunisia), S.H. AL SHAYEA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), M. BARILAN (Israel), M. MERLIN (ICMM) and Y. MIN (China).


The workshop gathered 36 participants and experts, military and civilians, belonging to International Organizations, Universities and Military Medical Services, coming from 14 countries of all continents: Belgium (1), Canada (4), China (3), France (2), Germany (4), Hungary (1), Israel (2), Namibia (2), New Zealand (1), Saudi Arabia (3), South Africa (1), Switzerland (8), Tunisia (1), UK (3).


The evaluation of the workshop gave a very encouraging result.
The Forum Lilienberg proved to be the absolute ideal venue with its excellent Plenary Hall, practical breakaway rooms, and high quality of accommodation, food and support services.

The kind and effective support provided by the Swiss Armed Forces was highly appreciated.

All participants in the evaluation survey rated the workshop as a whole positively and recommended organizing further workshops.

This 3rd 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.