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Philippines: students take the law out of the books in moot court competition

16-11-2010 News Release 10/209

Manila (ICRC) – Fourteen law schools from across the Philippines are set to battle their cases on international humanitarian law in the biggest moot court competition in the country. The highlight of this year's event, to be held from 17 to 19 November at San Sebastian College, is the "role-play challenge" where students will act out practical applications of the body of law that seeks to limit the effects of war.

"For 2010, we will take the moot court competition to a higher level by adding the role-play challenge," said Anastasia Isyuk, a communication coordinator at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). "The goal of role playing is to 'take the law out of the books,' so we expect the students to show how international humanitarian law is applied in the real world. It's also a chance for them to be in the shoes of an ICRC delegate, a military officer, reporter, or civilian caught in the midst of armed conflict."

The role-play challenge is based on the format used in the Jean Pictet Competition on international humanitarian law, which brings together students from internationally renowned universities and military academies. While the moot court is an extremely competitive and demanding exercise, Ms Isyuk said that role playing fosters camaraderie among the country's future lawyers.

This year, students from nine provincial law schools (Ateneo de Davao University, St. Louis University, Silliman University, Southwestern University, University of Batangas, University of Cebu, University of St. La Salle, University of San Carlos and Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan) and from five in the Manila area (Ateneo de Manila University, Far Eastern University, Lyceum of the Philippines University, San Beda College of Law and University of the Philippines Diliman) will display their adeptness in a courtroom setting.

Among the judges for the 2010 moot court competition are Supreme Court Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, law professor Harry Roque and ICRC regional legal adviser Richard Desgagne.

"We hope the moot court competition will continue to expand, because it is a valuable training ground for future lawyers and decision-makers," said Evecar Cruz- Ferrer, an ICRC legal adviser. "The competition is our way of planting a seed in some bright young students who could become vigorous supporters of international humanitarian law in the Philippines."

The moot court competition is an annual event organized by the ICRC, the Philippine Red Cross, the Philippine Association of Law Schools and the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

The winning team will be sent by the ICRC to the regional finals in Hong Kong in 2011. Last year's champion, Ateneo de Manila University, emerged as one of the top five prosecution teams in the regional finals.

The ICRC is a neutral and impartial organization. It has a long tradition of responding to the needs of people adversely affected by armed conflict and other violence. As the guardian of international humanitarian law, it reminds parties to conflict of their obligation to spare the lives of civilians and to treat them with humanity and dignity.

For further information, please contact:
Evecar Cruz-Ferrer, ICRC Manila, +63 918 912 5706
Philippe Stoll, ICRC Geneva, +41 22 730 31 40 or +41 79 536 92 49


Photos

A Supreme Court justice presides over a panel of judges at the final round of the National IHL Moot Court Competition in the Philippines. 

A Supreme Court justice presides over a panel of judges at the final round of the National IHL Moot Court Competition in the Philippines.
© ICRC

Silliman University in Dumaguete city won the National IHL Moot Court Competition in the Philippines. 

Silliman University in Dumaguete city won the National IHL Moot Court Competition in the Philippines.
© ICRC