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Course on International Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC)

Report on the 18th Course on International Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) and
the 4th Course on Military Medical Ethics in Times of Armed Conflict (MME)
by the International Committee of Military Medicine (ICMM),
19-25 August, 2016 in Spiez, Switzerland

The Eighteenth session of the course on law of armed conflicts (LOAC) has been held in Spiez (Switzerland) from August 19 to August 25, 2016. It gathered 25 participants coming from 14 different countries, Albania, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, China, France, Germany, Lebanon, Netherlands, Senegal, Switzerland, Tunisia and United Kingdom.

In the same time was held the fouth session of the course on military medical ethics (MME).

The contents of the LOAC course were similar to those having made the success of previous sessions, mixing lectures in plenary, workshops in syndicates and entertainment periods. There were 2 syndicates: one English speaking and one French speaking conducted by 4 international teachers, from Canada, Germany, Russia and South Africa.

MME course built 5 years ago up after a request from Comeds is dedicated to participants having a good background in LOAC and willing to improve their knowledge and reflexion level introducing dilemmas in morale and ethics. The main objective of this course is to qualify the participants to make legally and ethically correct decisions in situations where competences in international law and ethics are similarly relevant.

The situations chosen by the teachers (from Switzerland and Germany) were well adapted to further reflexion in the context of modern armed conflicts including asymmetrical warfare (weaponized ambulances, medical assistance during interrogatories of detainees, care and assistance for civilian population and enemy combatants, a.s.o). A grid of analysis (Hard facts, stakeholders, soft facts, legal aspects, moral and ethical aspects) was proposed and used in order to help the decision.

The good participation of all the attendees was enhanced by the excellent atmosphere realized by the pedagogic team of the ICMM Center of reference for education on international humanitarian law and ethics, by the careful support of the Swiss forces logistic team and the wonderful environment of the Bernese Oberland.

All participants went back home with an excellent memory of this week.