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Report of the Course on International Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC)



This thirteenth session of the Course on the Law of Armed Conflicts ans Ethics (LOAC course) was held under the aegis of the ICMM in Switzerland, during the period 19 to 26 August 2011 in Spiez.


The venue for the course was the Schweizer Fleischwirtschaft ABZ and the Belvédère Hotel, which proved, as it was already the case during the previous years, to be the absolute ideal venue with an excellent Plenary Hall, practical breakaway class rooms, high quality of accommodation, food and support services.


The 37 Military participants came from 20 countries (Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, China, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Lebanon, Malaysia, Moldavia, Republic of Centrafrique, Republic of Congo, Sudan, Switzerland, Tunisia).
They were divided in 4 classes for exercises after lecturers in the Plenary.

Commander and coordinator of the Course

The Course Director was Major General Andreas STETTBACHER, the Surgeon General of the Swiss Army.

Major General M MERLIN represented the ICMM during the course and its preparation.

Dr Jacques SANABRIA, Secretary General of the ICMM, delivered a speech during the closing ceremony in which he participated with Major General Andreas STETTBACHER.

Colonel (MD, Prof.) Hans U BAER, Commander and Director of the ICMM Centre of Reference for Education on Humanitarian Law and Ethics, was supervising and coordinating the course and its preparation.

Capt Milos SEKULIC was the Course Commander.

Lecturers/Instructors/Class leader

Coordinated by Col Johan CROUSE (South African National Defence Force) the teaching team comprised 4 syndicate leaders:

1. Col Ivan KHOLIKOV - Russian Armed Forces
2. Capt Andreas WILDI - Swiss Armed Forces
3. Lt Col Thorsten SCHAAY - German Armed Forces
4. Miss Pamela ERMUTH - Canadian Armed Forces

They have also participated in three meeting of pedagogical planning, chaired by Col Hans BAER before and during the course, with other teachers precedently involved in the LOAC course:

5. Senior Colonel Min YU - Chinese Armed Forces
6. Col Peter HOSTETTLER - Swiss Armed Forces
7. Lt Col Max ZAHND - Swiss Armed Forces
8. Lt Col (ret) Sylvain FOURNIER - Canadian Armed Forces
9. Lt Col Cord VON EINEM - German Armed Forces
10. Lt Col Valérie DENUX - French Armed Forces
11. Dr Daniel MESSELKEN - University of Zurich

These three meetings addressed two main topics:
- the evolution of the pedagogical features of the LOAC course;
- the response to give to a COMEDS’ requirement relating to a course on military medical ethics.

Dr Jacques SANABRIA and Major General Andreas STETTBACHER participated in the third meeting.

Course evaluation

All course participants (Military Medical Personnel) were requested to evaluate, individually and separately, all plenary lectures, all class lectures and all exercises in classrooms as well as accommodation, opening and closing ceremony.

Lessons learned have been summarized during the final meeting of the coordinating and teaching staff and will be used to prepare the next session to be held in August 2012.

As it was the case for the precedents, this thirteenth session of the LOAC Course is a success. This is very important in this year 2011, which saw the inauguration, in Zurich, of the ICMM Reference Center for Education on the International Humanitarian Law and Ethics, commanded and directed by Colonel (MD, Prof.) Hans U. BAER, that is now coordinating the whole sessions of the LOAC course (international session of reference and regional sessions). In 2011, three regional sessions of the LOAC course are managed in South Africa, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. Next year, 4 regional sessions are scheduled in Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. A fifth regional session could be soon organized in the Peoples Republic of China.


This 13th session of the LOAC course in Spiez was, as usual, very well organised and conducted in a professional manner of a high standard, thanks to the strong support of the Swiss Army, and indeed did the ICMM proud. The development of regional sessions that duplicate this course of reference, under the coordination of the ICMM Centre of Reference for Education on International Humanitarian Law and Ethics, underlines the strength of the links that joint together all the actors of this ICMM training network.