"International Humanitarian Law (IHL) learning has shown a remarkable improvement in Ethiopia since the beginning of the annual moot court competition at national level that as it gives wider opportunity for many universities to take part," says Enguday Meskele, an IHL Lecturer at the Wolaita Sodo University. She made the remark at the conclusion of the 3rd National IHL Moot Court Competition, which was organized by the ICRC in partnership with Hawassa University (HU).
Following a review of written submissions by 19 universities consisting of 57 students, the top eight teams made it to the oral rounds that was held from 17 to 19 May 2018 at HU. After the quarter and semifinals, Hawassa and Haramaya universities competed in the final on 19 May taking the role of prosecution and defense, respectively. A panel of five judges judged the final, and the team from HU emerged as the winner. Dirara Ansha of Hawassa University was named the best oralist.
The winning team will participate in the All Africa IHL Moot Court Competition to take place in Arusha, Tanzania, in November 2018. As part of its mandate to spread knowledge of IHL, the ICRC in Ethiopia promotes the law through education, training and moot court competition involving a wide range of groups and individuals, including legal professionals, law students, instructors, decision and policy makers and armed forces.
Participating teams presenting their arguments at the quarter finals. Enguday Meskele, an IHL Lecturer at the Wolaita Sodo University and a judge at the quarter and semi- finals commented on the status of IHL teaching in Ethiopia saying, “IHL learning is improving in the last few years thanks on the larger part to the moot court competitions and organization of seminars and trainings related to the subject. This has helped to establish relations among us (IHL colleagues) and share information and materials on the subject. This will likely lead us to establish a formal network in the near future. Thus, I can say the birth of IHL community is in the making which is mainly attributed to the ICRC.”
Derara Ansha who was nominated as the best oralist presenting his argument. He remarked, "The competition had a significant contribution in motivating me to read a lot of reference books in IHL and deepen my knowledge in the field."
Eyerusalem Teshome (right from judges’ panel) is a legal adviser at ICRC delegation in Ethiopia. She noted, “The main objective of the competition is to engage students and their coaches to read and debate about some core and emerging issues in IHL. The tournament gives an exciting touch to this exercise because of the fierce sense of competition and a strong desire to win. It is encouraging to observe that students and lecturers are increasingly doing their research on IHL and voicing their interest to have the curriculum revised with a view to strengthening the importance attached to IHL."
Audience rise at the final competition presided over by a panel of five judges.
Panel of judges at the final constitutes senior professionals from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UN, academia, ICRC and NGO.
James Reynolds, head of the ICRC delegation in Ethiopia, and Dr Tesfaye Abebe, vice president for research at HU presenting awards to participating teams.
The winning team from Hawassa University.
Expression of joy upon announcement of winners.
Judges, competitors, coaches and officials of the ICRC and HU at the conclusion of the competition.