Archives - Program 2020


Does international humanitarian law legitimise wars?

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

Discussion to follow in livestream on
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 the law?
The Cave recounts the incredible work of Dr Amani Ballour and her colleagues in an underground hospital in Syria, amidst a shortage of electricity, medical equipment and medicines, and facing the challenge of being a woman in charge of a war-torn medical structure is called into question when her legitimacy.

Humanitarian WorkJustice

Saturday 7 March


Espace Pitoëff - Grande salle

Co-presented with Geneva Academy and Doctors Without Borders (MSF)


Marco Sassoli Director, 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.

Helen Durham Director of International Law and Policy at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)


Amani Balloor Physician, protagonist of The Cave

Moderated by

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad Journalist, The Guardian

This debat is preceded by the movie:

Compétition - Documentaire de création

The Cave

By Feras Fayyad

In the besieged Syrian city of Ghutta, which suffered the worst chemical attack recorded in the last 25 years, the inhabitants have built a makeshift hospital in the cavernous depths of the earth. As the conflict rages on, pediatrician Amani Ballour tries to do her job, despite  some patients refusing to be treated by a woman. Above all, it is about saving lives, comforting people, obtaining medicines, feeding staff and the patients. After winning an Oscar for Last Men in Aleppo, Feras Fayyad returns to the FIFDH with this documentary, also nominated for the Oscar. 

  • Section Compétition - Documentaire de création

WomenHumanitaireMiddle EastHealth

Feras Fayyad


  • Kirstine Barfod
  • Sigrid Dyekjær

World sales

  • Dogwoof

Rights holder

  • Ana Vicente
Production country
Afghanistan & Tunisia