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First African venue for world's premier international humanitarian law competition

13-04-2012 News Release 12/81

Pretoria (Committee for the Jean-Pictet Competition / ICRC) – The annual Jean-Pictet Competition, the largest training event on international humanitarian law, will take place in Winterton, South Africa, from 14 to 21 April.

"Some 200 participants from across the globe will attend the competition," said Michel Deyra, the president of the Committee for the Jean-Pictet Competition. "We are very glad to be organizing it in Africa for the first time in its 24-year history."

The aim of the competition is to train future generations of lawyers and humanitarian practitioners in the rules of international humanitarian law, which limit the effects of armed conflict by protecting the sick, the wounded, prisoners and civilians, and restrict the means and methods of warfare. One of its special features is to "take the law out of the books" by means of simulations and role playing. In South Africa, 48 teams of students in law, political science and military studies from universities all over the world will confront various scenarios designed to challenge and deepen their understanding of the law in theory and in practice.

With students competing in both English and French, and coming from countries as varied as Iran, the United States, Tanzania, the Philippines, Cameroon, Russia, Ecuador and Israel, it is the most prestigious and diverse competition in the field of international humanitarian law. Nearly 10 African teams will participate, including those from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg – a sponsor of this year’s event – and the University of Cape Town.

The competition is run by a volunteer board of directors and supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Esteemed experts in the field judge the teams over four days before selecting semi-finalists. This year, the competition is honoured to have Judge Vagn Joensen, the president of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, as one of the guest judges for the finals, which will take place on 20 April.

For further information, please contact:
Otae Mkandawire, ICRC Pretoria, tel: +27 12 430 7335 or +27 82 414 6995
Michel Deyra, President of the Committee for the Jean-Pictet Competition, tel: +31 681 717 443