South Africa: Brussels team wins prestigious Pictet competition

21-04-2012 News Release

Pretoria (Committee for the Jean-Pictet Competition / ICRC) – The annual Jean-Pictet International Humanitarian Law Competition has been won by the Université Libre de Bruxelles. They beat the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and the National University of Singapore in the finals on 20 April.

"We are happy to have won,” said Alexandre Faudon of the winning team. “The competition taught us a lot about applying humanitarian law and working together."

The competition, which lasted a week, took place in Winterton, South Africa and drew 47 student teams from all over the world. The teams were presented with various conflict situations in which the actors’ roles were constantly shifting. Those who took part emerged with a clearer and broader understanding of humanitarian law.

"The competition is about young minds coming together, learning how to apply the law and learning about different cultures," said Cara Shahim of the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa.

In choosing the winning team, such factors as knowledge of humanitarian law, degree of empathy shown and dexterity in role-playing were taken into account. Judge Vagn Joensen, president of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, was the guest judge this year. "Competitions like this are important because they promote awareness among young people of humanitarian issues,” he said.

The competition bears the name of one of the main architects of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. It is run by a volunteer board of directors and supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). This was the first time, since its creation in 1989, that it was staged on the African continent.

For further information, please contact:
Otae Mkandawire, ICRC Pretoria, tel: +27 82 414 6995
Christopher Rassi, Member of the Committee for the Jean-Pictet Competition, tel: +31 62 452 3324