Working Group 5 Military Law and Ethics

Military justice systems, International law of armed conflict, international humanitarian law, rules of engagement, jus in Bello, jus ad bellum, jus pos bellum, status of forces agreements, pre-emptive action, moral dilemmas, values and transmission of values.

The court martial of US Colonel William (Billy) Mitchell in 1925 for insubordination provides an historical example of the application of military law and ethics to civil military relations. 

John T. Correll (2012) The Billy Mitchell Court-Martial. Air Force Magazine..


military trial

Current Chairs and Contacts for Working groups. 

Daniel Sommers

President of the Pacificus Group and reserve officer with the Office of the Judge Advocate General, Canada,

Daniel Sommers

Daniel P.W.A. Somers Daniel Sommers has been practising alternative dispute resolution, civil litigation, and criminal defence law for over a decade, and has litigated cases at every level of Court in Ontario, as well as at the Supreme Court of Canada. He has extensive experience in resolving conflict and has litigated cases at every level of Court in Ontario, as well as the Supreme Court of Canada. 

Over the years Daniel has served in the Canadian Army Reserve as an Infantry soldier, Armoured Officer and Infantry Officer. He now serves as a Reserve Legal Officer with the Office of the Judge Advocate General. 

Afton Maisonneuve

Canadian Army Reservist with the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa & In-house Counsel at TekSavvy Solutions Inc.,

Afton Maisonneuve

Afton Brooke Maisonneuve is Legal Counsel for TekSavvy Solutions Inc. and a reservist in the Infantry with the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa. She is a former varsity athlete and a graduate of the University of Ottawa’s National Program, with a degree in Civil Law (LL.L) and Common Law (J.D.). She was called to the Ontario Bar in 2018. She has practiced in real-estate, corporate, estate planning/administration and currently practices in various areas of private law including contracts, construction, and technology infrastructure. Her main academic interests are military law, constitutional law and international humanitarian law. She is the winner of the 2017 Canadian Bar Association’s Sword & Scale essay contest with her paper titled Neither Charity nor Special Treatment: Amendments to Sustainably Modernize the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act and she is published in the area of medical assistance in dying and is mentioned in the Oxford Handbook of the Canadian Constitution for her work on Amending the Constitution of Canada. 

Past Chairs:

Commander Fredrik Holst, Swedish National Defence College, 

Professor Dr. Maja Eriksson, Swedish National Defence College 

Scope: the aim and purpose of the Working Group

This working group seeks jurists, philosophers and practicing military lawyers who have an interest in contemporary military operations and their legal aspects. A wide range of legal and philosophical subjects are of interest to the contributors in this working group. 

Keyword descriptors

Law, ethics, norms, rules, regulations, military law, trials, morals, morality, courts, law of armed conflict, international humanitarian law

Topics addressed in previous conferences

Security and Law; “Lawfare”; Legal and Ethical Implications of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems; Rules of Engagement in peacekeeping; 

Current Working Group Activities

The working group is looking for contributors to prepare an annual digest of new and influential materials, including books, journal articles, and research projects, for the benefit of participants and institutional members.

History of the Working Group

This is one of the original eight working groups of the ISMS established at Amsterdam in 2008.

Related Contact information

International Committee of the Red Cross

Competition on International Humanitarian Law for Military Academies (San Remo)

You may also be interested in...

Ethics and International Affairs, the Journal of the Carnegie Council, the Journal of the Carnegie Council

Guide to Researching Military Law, University of Windsor, Canada, University of Windsor, Canada

Journal of Conflict and Security Law, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press