Is the law of war now dead on the battlefield?

The behaviour of Russian soldiers in Ukraine has been appalling: executions, rape, torture... War crime investigations have been initiated. The Russian army is not the only one attacking civilians, violating the "law of armed conflict". Armies are supposed to respect this law of war, or international humanitarian law, in case of conflict. These rules aim to protect people and property affected by armed conflict by regulating the methods and means of warfare of the parties to the conflict. But how do armies around the world handle these obligations, how do they teach this "law of armed conflict" to soldiers and officers alike, and above all how do they apply these rights during operations? We will hear from field officers who have had to apply and enforce this law, and from those who negotiate with armed forces in the field to ensure that the law of war is respected.

ConflictsInternational law

Saturday 18 March


Espace Pitoëff - Théâtre

sold out - in case of cancellation, tickets will be put back on sale before the screening

Followed by the debate "Is the law of war now dead on the battlefield?"

English / French

In partnership with the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations in Geneva


Ben Hodges Former Lieutenant General of the US Army, Special Advisor to the NGO Human Rights First

Avner Gvaryahu Co-director of the NGO Breaking the Silence

Gilles Castel Retired Colonel

Aminata Diabate Colonel of the Malian army, expert in International Humanitarian Law

Marco Sassoli Professor of Public International Law at the University of Geneva

Moderated by

Tobias Vestner Head of Research and Policy Advice Department at the Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP)

This debat is preceded by the movie:

Compétition - Documentaire de création


By Alexander Mihalkovich & Hanna Badziaka

"Motherland" depicts the culture of violence in Belarus from the perspectives of soldiers, bereaved mothers and activists. By opting for an emotionally charged approach to the production, questions emerge, particularly about the military hierarchy and State violence. "Motherland" asks: how can individuality exist within a context of violence?

  • Section Competition - Creative documentaries
  • Original language(s) Belarusian & Russian
  • Subtitle(s) English & French

ConflitsSocial issuesEastern Europe

Alexander Mihalkovich & Hanna Badziaka

World sales

  • Lightdox


  • Siarhiej Kanaplianik


  • Yngve Sætre
  • Thomas Angell Endresen


  • Yngve Sætre
  • Thomas Angell Endresen


  • Katiia Vushnya
  • Jakub Bastkowski
  • Jerzy Poniatowski
  • Hanna Badziaka
Production country
Swiss Premiere