Call for Papers & Registration open

The ICMM Center of Reference for Education on IHL and Ethics in cooperation with the Medical Services Directorate of the Swiss Armed Forces and the ZH Center for Military Medical Ethics at Zurich University convene their joint

12th Workshop on Military Medical Ethics
15-17 June 2023 | Hybrid Workshop (on site and via zoom)
Hotel Seaside in Spiez (Switzerland)

Medical Neutrality in Theory and Practice



During armed conflicts and other emergencies, medical services shall not be interfered with. This is the main tenet of what has been labelled “medical neutrality”. This principle is grounded in International Humanitarian Law as well as in Human Rights Law and it can be justified by ethical rationales such as the principle of Humanity and ordinary medical ethics. Health workers often understand medical neutrality as an obligation not to engage in anything else other than medical outcomes.

Medical neutrality is often disrespected: Health care providers and health facilities are under attack, laws sanction the provision of health care to so-called insurgents or terrorists, health care is withold or provided according to non-medical criteria, and philosophers have questioned that health care can always be provided without considering the moral status of those to whom it is provided.

Our workshop shall provide an opportunity to discuss medical neutrality and the related concepts like impartiality from a variety of perspectives. Presentations could cover topics within the following list but need not be restricted to it.Ethical aspects of the principle of neutrality.

  • Ethical aspects of the principle of neutrality.

  • How is medical neutrality implemented in practice? Operationalizing medical neutrality. 

  • Can health care be provided without effectively providing military advantage? 

  • Neutrality and military necessity. 

  • Neutrality and impartiality – differences and their relationship. 

  • Does medical neutrality provide a justification to provide medical care to anybody? 

  • The relationship of neutrality and other humanitarian principles. 

  • Historical perspectives on medical neutrality. 

  • Medical neutrality and the limits of what HCP are allowed to do. 

    • Participation in weapon development?  

    • Providing medical care to further non-medical ends? 

  • Political activism of health care providers and the principle of neutrality. 

We equally encourage field reports (e.g., case studies, experience briefings, policy analyses) as well as philosophical papers and legal background analyses. In line with the tradition of the workshop series, we invite presentations that take the perspectives of both military and humanitarian health care providers.

Apply as a speaker - instructions for submissions

 To submit a proposal for a presentation, please prepare

  • an abstract of your presentation (max 300 words)

  • a short CV (max 150 words)

and submit it via the online submission form at 

Deadline for submissions: January 15, 2023

→ We will notify all applicants by February 15, 2023 at the latest whether their proposals have been selected. For all selected speakers, we cover conference fee, hotel, and travel expenses (economy class).

For any questions with regard to the call for papers or the process of submitting please contact Daniel Messelken (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

SIWF Accreditation

The MME workshop 2023 shall again be accredited. Details will be published in due time.

logo siwf

Participation & registration

Please be aware that places at the workshop are limited as we want to keep the format of the workshop as close as possible to the previous years, which includes time and opportunity for discussions. These are only possible in a smaller group and we can therefore not accomodate more than 50/60 people in total (including the speakers and faculty members). Participants will be selected with the aim of putting together a well-balanced group of speakers and participants to allow for productive discussions.

Participation is possible on-site in Spiez (~ 30 persons in total) and online via zoom videoconference.

  • To preregister, please write an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • A registration form will be published in late 2022.

Workshop fee

Workshop Fee for on-site participants: 800 CHF
Includes the following:

  • Participation at all workshop sessions
  • Access to online documentation of the workshop
  • 3 Hotel nights (single room) and all meals during the workshop
  • Icebreaker on 14. June and Host nation dinner on 16. June
  • Transport to and from ZRH airport.

Deadline for applications: 15.04.2023 (first come first served)

Application for the online participation via zoom 

Workshop Fee for online participants: 75 CHF
Includes the following:

  • Access to the online workshop
  • Access to online documentation of the workshop

Criteria for selection

  • The motivation and previous knowledge/ expertise/ experience of applicants
  • The function and institutional role of applicants
  • Date the application is received
  • The number of participants per country can be limited

Deadline for applications (online participation): 15 April 2023

Online workshop – Technical information

  • The workshop will be held via the zoom videoconferencing software. Participants are responsible that the internet connection and technical requirements are met.
  • The number of participants will be restricted as we want to encourage a similar engagement with the audience as usual at the Forum Lilienberg.
  • Livestreaming to YouTube is not planned, neither will recordings be made or allowed.

Workshop organisation

Scientific Coordination

  • Zurich Center for Military Medical Ethics
    Dr. phil. Daniel Messelken - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • ICMM Center of Reference for Education on IHL and Ethics
    Col David Winkler, MD, PhD - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Organisation & Logistics

  • Swiss Armed Forces, Medical Services Directorate
    Pauline Dénervaud - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.