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Report of the 15th Course on International Law Of Armed Conflict (LOAC)

Report of the 15th Course on International Law Of Armed Conflicts (LOAC)
by the International Committee of Military Medicine (ICMM)
August 16-22, 2013 in Spiez, Switzerland

15th ICMM LOAC Course for Medical Practitioners held in Spiez, Switzerland - 16 to 22 August 2013

This 15th Reference Session of the Course on the Law of Armed Conflicts ans Ethics (LOAC course) was held during the period 16 to 22 August 2013 in Spiez, supported by the Swiss Army.

The working languages were English and French.

The venue chosen for the course was, as usual since 14 years, the Schweizer Fleischwirtschaft ABZ which proved to be the absolute ideal venue with its excellent Plenary Halls, practical breakaway rooms, high quality of accommodation, food and support services.

The 22 Military participants came from 12 countries (Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Sweden, Tunsia, Ukraine), were divided in 4 classes for exercises after lectures in the Plenary.

Commanders of the Course
The Course director was Major General Andreas STETTBACHER, the Surgeon General of the Swiss Armed Forces who chaired the opening and closing ceremonies.

The ICMM delegation comprised Major General (ret.) Roger VAN HOOF (MD), Secretary General of the ICMM, and Major General Prof. (ret.) Marcel MERLIN (MD), Chairman of the ICMM Scientific Council.
Colonel Christian ZOGG, of the Swiss Army, was the Course Coordinator.

Lecturers/Instructors/Class leaders
The team of international teachers managed the course, so as to maintain the same standard of quality that are those of the reference course of Spiez, namely:
1. Colonel Johan CROUSE - South African National Defence Force
2. Senior Colonel YU Min - Chinese Armed Forces, Health Department.
3. Colonel Ivan KHOLIKOV - Russian Armed Forces.
4. Senior Colonel Fethi BAYOUDH - Tunisian Armed Forces.

Lectures have been also given by Mr. Hernan REYES (ICRC), Mrs. Lindsey CAMERON (ICRC), Mr. Peter MCKLOSKEY (ICTY) and Dr. Phil. Daniel MESSELKEN (Zurich University).

Colonel Prof. Hans BAER (MD), who has been Coordinator of the Reference LOAC course since 2003 and first Director of the ICMM Reference for Education on International Humanitarian Law and Ethics, was not participating in this 15th Session. He is now taking a new function as a special personal advisor to the surgeon general, within the staff of the medical directorate of the Swiss Armed Forces. During the closing ceremony, Major General Andreas STETTBACHER thanked him for the years of his life, heart and mind he gave for the noble and and important cause of the LOAC course

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.

The results were documented and an overall average mark of 86,6% was obtained.
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 2014.

A think tank with Dr. Phil. Daniel MESSELKEN (Zürich University) and Lt.-Colonel Cord VON EINEM (German Armed Forces) has prepared the development of a new ICMM course on Military Medical Ethics in Times of Armed Conflicts, that could be proposed in 2014 in Spiez, aside the LOAC course.

The 15th Reference Session of the LOAC course, held in Spiez thanks to the support of the Swiss Army, was very well organised and conducted in a professional manner of a high standard and indeed did the ICMM proud.