First Do No Harm: Medical Ethics in International Humanitarian Law


Author: Sigrid Mehring
Although working on the sidelines of armed conflicts, physicians are often at the centre of attention. First Do No harm: Medical Ethics in International Humanitarian Law was born from the occasionally controversial role of physicians in recent armed conflicts and the legal and ethical rules that frame their actions. While international humanitarian, human rights and criminal law provide a framework of rights and obligations that bind physicians in armed conflicts, the reference to ‘medical ethics’ in the laws of armed conflict adds an extra-legal layer. In analysing both the legal and the ethical framework for physicians in armed conflict, the book is invaluable to practitioners and legal scholars alike.

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Sigrid Mehring studied law at the University of Amsterdam and received her Ph.D. from the University of Hamburg. She was a Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law and has published widely on international humanitarian and criminal law.
Excerpt of table of contents:
Part One: Introduction to Physicians in Armed Conflicts and Medical Ethics
Chapter 1: The Role of Physicians in Armed Conflict
A. Medical Actors in Armed Conflicts
B. Guiding Principles
C. General Principles of Medical Ethics
D. Specific Areas of Concern in Recent Armed Conflicts
E. Conclusion
Part Two: The Legal Framework of Medical Care in Armed Conflicts
Chapter 2: International Humanitarian Law
A. The Geneva Conventions of 1864, 1906 and 1929
B. Medical Care in International Armed Conflicts
C. Medical Care in Non-International Armed Conflicts
D. Conclusion
Chapter 3: International Criminal Law
A. Medical War Crimes
B. Medical War Crimes in International Criminal Law
C. Prosecution of Medical War Crimes
D. Possible Defenses to Medical War Crimes
E. Conclusion
Chapter 4: Customary Status of International Humanitarian Law
A. Customary International Humanitarian Law
B. The ICRC Study on Customary International Law
C. Conclusion
Chapter 5: The relevant Human Rights Norms applicable to the Work of Physicians in Armed Conflict
A. Applicability of Human Rights in Armed Conflicts
B. Human Rights relevant to Medical Treatment
C. Conclusion
Part Three: Medical Ethics in Armed Conflict
Chapter 6: The Interpretation of the Reference to Medical Ethics and Generally Accepted Medical Standards pursuant to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
A. Article 31 and 32 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
B. An Interpretation of the Open Terms in Geneva Law pursuant to articles 31 and 32 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
C. Conclusion
Chapter 7: Medical Ethics in International Law
A. Medical Ethics as found in International Humanitarian Law
B. Medical Ethics in Other Sources of International Law
C. Conclusion
Chapter 8: A Pluralistic Approach to Medical Ethics
A. A National Concept of Medical Ethics in International Humanitarian Law
B. National Medical Ethics
C. The Desirability of a Pluralistic Approach
D. Conclusion
Chapter 9: The Documents by the World Medical Association (WMA)
A. The World Medical Association
B. The Status of the WMA Documents
C. The Legitimacy of the WMA Documents
D. Conclusion
Part Four: Conclusion
Chapter 10: Conclusion, Recommendations and Outlook
A. Conclusion on Medical Ethics in International Humanitarian Law
B. Five Common Principles of Medical Ethics
C. Outlook
Annex I: The Hippocratic Oath as translated by Heinrich von Stadeni
Annex II: WMA Declaration of Geneva
Annex III: WMA International Code of Medical Ethics
Annex IV: WMA Regulations in Times of Armed Conflictv
General Guidelines
Code of Conduct: Duties of Physicians working in armed conflict and other situations of violence
Bibliography; Index.

Besides physicians, First do no harm: Medical Ethics in International Humanitarian Law is of interest to legal scholars and practitioners in international humanitarian and criminal law, ethicists and practitioners in the field.