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Hong Kong: 10th Asia-Pacific moot-court competition in international humanitarian law

07-03-2012 News Release 12/43

Beijing/Geneva (ICRC) – More than 60 law students and scholars representing 20 universities from Asia and the Pacific will participate in the 10th Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Moot-Court Competition in Hong Kong on 8-10 March.

Each team will vie for the championship currently held by Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

This year, for the first time, the event will have a strong live presence on social media, in many different languages. "In this region, everyone is connected on Facebook, Weibo or Twitter," said David-Pierre Marquet, the communication coordinator at the regional delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Beijing. "Not only will it be possible to follow the debates live in Chinese, Thai, Bahasa Indonesia, Japanese and English, but those who do so will be able to ask questions and interact with like-minded users from around the world."

The teams, from Japan, Australia, Thailand, China and elsewhere, will have their knowledge of international humanitarian law tested by a panel of distinguished judges, lawyers and other legal experts. "Over three intensive days, young lawyers will crack tough cases that are anchored in the reality of wars and other conflicts," said Richard Desgagné, the ICRC's regional legal adviser for East Asia and South-East Asia. Only the best team will take home one of the region's most prestigious prizes.

"The 10th edition of this event is a very important milestone for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement," said Alain Aeschlimann, the ICRC's head of operations for East Asia, South-East Asia and the Pacific. "The moot-court competition aims to spread knowledge of international humanitarian law throughout the region and beyond, and the 10th anniversary is a mark of steady interest in the subject." This year, for the first time, the event will welcome teams from universities in Viet Nam and Iran.

"This is not simply a promotional event," said Mr Desgagné, "Most of the participants grew up without first-hand experience of war. The moot court shows how international humanitarian law, which deals with how wars are waged, can ensure respect for human life and dignity. The sessions illustrate how this area of law is used in action, as it is being applied."

The ICRC has been co-organizing the regional round of the Asia-Pacific Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Moot-Court Competition with the host, the Hong Kong Red Cross, since 2005. The ICRC also plays an active role in 10 local-level moot-court competitions in the region.

For further information, please contact:
David-Pierre Marquet, ICRC Beijing, tel: +86 138 1027 4025
Philippe Stoll, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 31 40 or +41 79 536 92 49