Ethiopia: A renewed interest in international humanitarian law

  • On the eve of the competition, competing students and their coaches from eight different universities interact with each other at an event organized at a hotel in Dessie city (north Ethiopia), where the competition was conducted.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Alemayehu Takele
  • Competitors presenting their arguments before the panel of judges during the quarter final at the campus of the host, Wollo University.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Alemayehu Takele
  • Helina Mekonnen (second from the left) listens to the debates of competitors at the quarter final. Helina was one of the best oralists in the 1st National IHL Moot Court Competition which took place in 2016. She has been among the panel of judges at oral rounds of national moot court competitions in 2018 and 2019. She is now a trainee diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), a key institution that the ICRC collaborates with on a range of IHL and other topics. When she completes her training, she will start work as a legal officer advising the International Department with MFA on IHL and other related issues. In her comment, Helina remarked, "Participating in a moot competitions as a competing student and judge enabled me to deepen my knowledge about IHL. This will help me to assist my department in international and non-international armed conflicts and other issues related to IHL."
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Alemayehu Takele
  • Semi finalists presenting their arguments before the judges.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Alemayehu Takele
  • Finalists forwarding their arguments before the panel of judges. On the left are competitors from Addis Ababa University and at the right their rivals from Haromaya University.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Alemayehu Takele
  • The panel of judges who judged the final competition. In the middle, Enguday Meskele serves as presiding judge. She also served as a judge in the 2nd and 3rd National Moot Court Competition. "The moot court competition and other IHL seminars being organized frequently have enabled us (those engaged in IHL) to get acquainted well among ourselves and discuss the subject. I think, the ICRC has been creating an IHL family in Ethiopia that would help spread the knowledge of IHL,” she remarked.
    Photo credit: Wollo University
  • Zewdu Ayalew (center), head of prevention and communication department with the ICRC, along with Dr Habtamu Simachew (left), dean of Law School of Wollo University, awarding books and a certificate to the representative of one of the participating university.
    Photo credit: Wollo University
  • Dr Habtamu awarding a trophy to winning team of Addis Ababa University. Here Atran Tadesse (right) is one of the best oralists. "It was a nice competition. It helped us to draw important lessons from other competitors," she said.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Alemayehu Takele
22 May 2019

"Most law students are now interested to study and know more about International Humanitarian Law (IHL), a tendency which was nonexistent some five years ago," said Enguday Meskele, an IHL lecturer at the Wolaita Sodo University.

She went on to say, "This is because of the organization of mainly national IHL moot court competitions every year and other relevant forums enabling to attract more academicians in the field. If it were not for the ICRC, IHL wouldn't have reached at this level."

Enguday made the remarks at the conclusion of the 4th National IHL Moot Court Competition, which was organized by the ICRC in partnership with Wollo University (WU).

After a review of written submissions by 17 universities' teams comprising 51 students, the top eight teams passed to the oral rounds that were held from 16 to 18 May at WU. Following the conduct of the quarter and semi finals Addis Ababa and Haromaya universities competed in the final on 18 May, taking the role of prosecution and defense respectively.

A panel of five judges sat to adjudicate the final round, and the team from Addis Ababa University emerged as the winner. Atran Tadesse from the same university and Mekdelawit Abiy from Hawassa University were named the best oralists during the competition.

The winning team will participate in the All Africa IHL Moot Court Competition to take place in Arusha, Tanzania, in November 2019.

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, academicians, decision makers members of the police and armed forces.