Bangladesh: Law students test their understanding of IHL at annual moot court

The University of Dhaka won the Bangladesh national rounds of the 14th Henry Dunant Memorial Moot Court Competition on international humanitarian law (IHL) held in Dhaka from 5–7 October 2023. The East-West University team won the runner-up prize.

Organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in partnership with the Independent University Bangladesh (IUB), this year's edition brought together 30 teams – the highest number of participants – representing various public and private universities from across the country. The winning team will represent Bangladesh in the Asia-Pacific rounds to be held in Hong Kong next year.

The moot court competition provided an opportunity for students to test their knowledge of and ability to apply IHL principles to a fictional case. Under the scrutiny of a distinguished panel of judges, including Supreme Court justices, members of the Subordinate Judiciary, senior government officials, academics and lawyers, each team presented compelling legal arguments on the fictitious case.


Rear Admiral (Retd.) Md. Khurshed Alam, BN, Secretary of the Maritime Affairs Unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was the chief guest at the opening ceremony. "This event is not just a gathering of talented legal minds; it is a testament to the collective commitment to international law and a platform for fostering future generations of lawyers and policymakers in further research and debate on IHL," he said.

Heike Kemper, deputy head of ICRC's delegation in Dhaka, highlighted the universal humanitarian principle inherent in IHL, which upholds human dignity even during times of war.

Prof. Borhan Uddin Khan, adviser to the Department of Law at IUB, highlighted that the competition gave students the chance to sharpen their advocacy skills, learn team building and create a new network.


The Henry Dunant Memorial Moot Court Competition, initiated in 2005 by the ICRC, has been instrumental in promoting the study of IHL among university students in the South Asian region. Over the years, this competition has provided a unique platform for students to engage with IHL theorists and practitioners, raising awareness, kindling interest in IHL and enhancing advocacy skills through friendly competition.


The 14th edition of the competition reaffirmed its role in nurturing the next generation of legal minds committed to upholding the principles of international humanitarian law.