On 23-25 May, the International Society for Military Ethics in Europe (EuroISME), in co-operation with the Norwegian Military Academy and the Norwegian armed forces chaplaincy, held its 6th annual conference in the Akershus Fortress in Oslo. Approximately 100 experts participated, mostly from Europe and the United States, but also from Colombia, Cameroon and Australia. The conference considered "Ethics in counter-terrorism" and a variety of subjects was discussed, ranging from armed drones, via targeted killings to the battle against Boko Haram.
During the conference, a third chapter of the "ISME family" presented itself: APAC (Asia-Pacific) ISME will focus on the participation of ethicists from the nations of the Pacific rim. APAC ISME is in the process of being established, and it plans to hold its first, bi-annual, conference in late 2017. APAC ISME complements the existing North American ISME (formerly JSCOPE) and EuroISME.
A special panel was devoted to the Journal of Military Ethics which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. Four editors who have been closely involved in the development of the Journal debated the extent to which military ethics has changed in the past fifteen years. A telling detail emerged when one of the panellists noted that the deadline for the very first issue was 9/11, 2001. Thus, the Journal came into being at the very moment that international terrorism became a strategic level reality, and was no longer limited to the tactical level.
Noteworthy was also the presentation of the 2015 award for military ethics by Executive Director John Thomas to Mrs Elisabeth Decrey-Warner, President of the NGO Geneva Call, for its outstanding work in the field of dissemination of international humanitarian law to non-state actors. In her acceptance speech, Mrs Decrey-Warner sketched a broad picture of the activities of Geneva Call, in more than 20 countries, and often under difficult, if not dangerous circumstances. The following morning a panel discussion took place on improving methods of dissemination by coupling the dissemination of international humanitarian law to military ethics. In his reply to the panellists, Mr. Jamie Williamson of the International Committee of the Red Cross underlined the fact that the ICRC is at present actively engaged in seeking new methods of dissemination, and that the legalistic approach is in the process of being modernised.
During the closing session the participants were joined by the Deputy Secretary for Defence of Norway and the Ambassador of Israel. In his closing speech, the Deputy Secretary for Defence emphasised the important place of military ethics within the Norwegian armed forces, as well as Norwegian research conducted in this field. Finally, the Board of Directors announced that the next conference of EuroIMSE will take place from 31 May to 2 June 2017, at the Royal Military Academy of the Belgian Armed Forces in Brussels.