Die High-Level-Berliner Sicherheitskonferenz 2015 bot wieder einmal die passende Plattform für die Verleihung von zwei bedeutenden Preisen auf dem Gebiet der Sicherheitspolitik und der Militärethik.

Die Preise wurden im Rahmen einer Partnerschaft zwischen Euro-ISME und der französischen Gesellschaft CIDAN ausgeschrieben, um die Beziehungen zwischen den Streitkräften und der Zivilgesellschaften nicht nur in Frankreich, sondern in ganz Europa zu fördern. Euro-ISME ist in der Jury vertreten, die jeweils die Preisträger aus den zahlreichen Kandidaten auswählt und besonders verdiente Einzelpersonen oder Organisationen für die erfolgreiche Vermittlung militärischer Ethik auszeichnet.

The CIDAN and Euro-ISME prizewinners with former French Defence Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie.

The CIDAN and Euro-ISME prizewinners with former French Defence Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie.

Die Preise werden unter der Schirmherrschaft des Präsidenten von Frankreich, M François Hollande vergeben. John Thomas, einer der beiden Geschäftsführer, hat Euro-ISME bei der Verleihungszeremonie vertreten.

Auch in diesem Jahr gab es wieder mehrere sehr aussichtsreiche Kandidaten für eine Auszeichnung. Geneva Call, wurde für seine innovativen und nachhaltigen Aktivitäten mit dem Hauptpreis in der Kategorie “CIDAN Preis für Bürgersinn, Sicherheits- und Vertedigungsbewußtsein” belohnt. Geneva Call erstellt Unterrichtshilfen für Ethische Erziehung, über internationales Kriegsvölkerrecht und Menschenrechte für die direkte Anwendung in Konfliktzonen und für Kämpfer, die oft keine Vorkenntnisse in einem dieser Themenbereiche haben.

Der Preis für angewandte Militärethik wurde an Dr David Rodin vergeben, der einer der führenden Militärethiker der Welt ist und der regelmäßig Regierungen, Unternehmen und Streitkräften als Berater herangezogen wird.


Laudatio des Geschäftsführers von Euro-ISME, Brigadegeneral a.D. John Thomas, anläßlich der Ehrung der beiden Preisträger in der Kategorie “Militärethik” :

Good morning,

My name is John Thomas and I am an executive director of the International Society for Military Ethics in Europe.

I have been invited to say a few words about two of the prize winners, Dr David Rodin and Geneva Call.

But first a brief word about the importance of values and ethics in the world today.   One of the world’s largest accountancy firms – Arthur Andersen, and one of the world’s largest merchant banks – Lehman Bros, both collapsed because they had allowed an unethical culture to infect their decision make to the extent that unacceptable practices became the new normal. And right now here in Germany we see the current profound difficulties faced by the Volkswagen Group which again have at their root an institutionalised distortion of ethical values.

In the military sphere, where not merely profit and loss, but lives and quite literally the fates of nations are at stake, ethical behaviour is arguably even more important. We saw in Paris last Friday [13 November 2015] the appalling depth of depravity to which those with no ethics and values, other than a hermetic and fanatic self interest, can sink.

John Thomas addressing the Berlin Security Conference and congratulating the prizewinners.

John Thomas addressing the Berlin Security Conference and congratulating the prizewinners.

That is why we need people of the calibre of Dr Rodin to understand, distil and communicate the often complex issues in way that we can all understand.

In the United Kingdom it is rare for philosophers to be well known outside academic circles. Unlike the French, for example, we as a nation are relentlessly, if not obstinately, pragmatic, rather than philosophical, by nature. Dr Rodin is one of the few philosophers in recent times whose advice is actively sought by leading military institutions, governments and business. Perhaps his outstanding achievement is to help make ethics relevant again and to be able to communicate the fact that an understanding of ethics and the embodiment of ethical principles into military and business life is fundamental to our well being as a society. He is succeeding in expanding the perimiter of ethics within organisations.

If Dr Rodin is primarily a scholar, Geneva Call are primarily practitioners. Those of us from countries with a long tradition of studying and teaching just war theory, ethics, the Law of Armed Conflict and humanitarian law can still make mistakes, but we do take these subjects seriously. However, the nature of modern conflict is such that many, if not all, of the members of the irregular armed groups who oppose us, or who oppose each other, have no knowledge or understanding of these subjects. The use of child soldiers, of rape and indiscriminate brutality as weapons of war are tragic manifestations of this lack of knowledge and understanding.

Geneva Call had the wisdom to recognise the size and scope of this problem, the imagination to develop innovative ways of tackling it and the courage to go to war torn regions to deliver that solution. It is a remarkable organisation staffed by remarkable people.

We are therefore privileged to have on stage here today one of the world’s leading military ethicists and the representatives of an NGO that is a world leader in taking that subject to where it is arguably most needed. On behalf of the International Society for Military Ethics in Europe I commend both of them to you.