Event information

7 March 2020, 20:00-22:00

Does international humanitarian law legitimise wars?


The International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH), Doctors without Borders (MSF) and the Geneva Academy co-organize an online debate on international humanitarian law during the revised 18th edition of the festival.

International humanitarian law (IHL) provides a platform for major humanitarian organisations to negotiate in the event of a conflict. When war is in conformity with the law, is it still legitimate?

Systematic attacks on hospitals and other civilian sites in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and South Sudan: since the beginning of the "war on terror" declared following the attacks of 11 September 2001, violations of IHL have multiplied. In this context, the importance of promoting IHL has become a fundamental pillar of contemporary humanitarian action. Advocacy campaigns and public speeches proliferate. But does recognizing that war can be legally considered as civilized not ignore the political realities of law and warfare? Does this not lead to legitimizing so-called just wars in the name of law?


  • Amani Balloor, Physician, the protagonist of The Cave
  • Annyssa Bellal, Strategic Adviser on IHL, Geneva Academy
  • Rony Brauman, Doctor, ex-president of MSF, director of studies for CRASH - the center of reflexion on action and humanitarian knowledge at MSF


  • Gaith Abdul-Ahad, Journalist, The Guardian


Does international humanitarian law legitimise wars?

International humanitarian law (IHL) provides a platform for major humanitarian organisations to negotiate in the event of a conflict. When war is in conformity with the law, is it still legitimate?

Watch the debate co-organized by the Geneva Academy, The International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH) and Doctors without Borders (MSF).


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