Medical Law, Ethics, Humanitarian Medicine

Unit Presentation Unit Service FAQ

Courses offered by the DMMH :

The unit of Medical Law and Humanitarian Medicine offers the following three courses :

  • "Undergraduate course in Forensic Medicine, Medical Law and Ethics (AMC)" for students of Medicine (Unige)
  • "Humanitarian Law and Medicine" (optional course) for medical students
  • "Medical Law" (optional course) for students of Medicine.

In addition we participate in :

  • "Ethical DC and community immersion" Undergraduate course for medical students
  • "Inter-faculty course in Bio-Ethics (Faculty of Law, Faculty of Science)" for students studying science, law, theology or medicine.

Prizes and awards 

Professor Bernice Elger has been awarded the “CMPR, Prize for research in Primary Care Medicine 2010” for her research work on medical confidentiality, published in the British Journal of General Practice. She presented her work at the primary care conference in Lucerne on 24.6.2010.

Conference en 2010

Past meeting (3-7 May 2010 Sweden) : Conference on Violations of human rights and humanitarian law, chairs Bernice Elger, Paola Gaeta, Marcelo Aebi

Main research areas of the DMMH :

  • Respect for patient self-determination as quality indicator in palliative care: current state, problems and solutions in acute care hospitals (funded by l’ASSM)
  • Medical tourism in Switzerland: Interdisciplinary exploratory research on ethical, legal, and economic issues (funded by l’ASSM)
  • Agequake in prisons – second part: Mental health care and forensic evaluation of aging prisoners and persons serving security measures in Switzerland (funded by le FNS)
  • Ethical and legal issues of genetic counseling and biobanks (B. Elger, I. Filges)
  • Procedures concerning medical confidentiality in Switzerland  (Dr M. Ummel, and colleagues).

Completed Research Projects :

  • "Ethical and legal issues related to research involving biobanks", funding: GIAN, MIMOSA, Swiss National Science Foundation (A second book has been published in 2010)
  • "Ethical and legal issues related to research using cadaveric biological material" by Prof. B. Elger, Dr. M. C. Hofner (MER), Prof. P. Mangin
  • "Ethical and legal issues related to genetic research in case of sudden death" by Prof. B. Elger, Prof. P. Mangin, Dr. K. Michaud and Dr. F. Fellmann.
  • "Confidentiality", Funding : ASSM par Prof. B. Elger, Dr A. Eytan, Dr M. Ummel, Prof. B. Gravier (CHUV) and colleagues.
  • "Information and risk management in pregnancy monitoring: legal and sociological contexts of the doctor-patient relationship. Funding: Swiss National Science Foundation" (see Unige-Droit-Recherche) by Prof. D. Manai, Prof. C. Burton-Jeangros, Prof. B. Elger and colleagues
  • "Death in custody": Funding: SNIS (see SNIS website) by Prof. B. Elger, Prof. P. Mangin and colleagues, in collaboration with the ICRC (Dr. Mr Tidball-Binz), the University of Berne (Prof. M. Thali) and the Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights –ADH in Geneva (Prof. P. Gaeta, Prof. V. Chetail).


  • "Less smoking in prison. Funding (OFSP) by Prof. B. Elger et Dr J.-F. Etter, in collaboration with D. Christie, C. Wahl (Cipret Genève), Dr J. Sommer, Dr J.-P. Humair, Dr H. Wolff et Dr A. Eytan.


Some recent publications by the DMMH :

Most recent published works :



Intelligent Assistive Technologies for Dementia

by Fabrice Jotterand, Marcello Ienca, Tenzin Wangmo, Bernice Elger (eds.), Oxford University Press 2019



by Bernice Elger, Catherine Ritter, Heino Stöver (eds.) Springer 2016.


Ethik und Recht in Medizin und Biowissenschaften – aktuelle Fallbeispiele aus klinischer Praxis und Forschung“ from Bernice Elger, Nikola Biller-Andorno, Bernhard Rütsche (eds.), De Gruyter 2014.