South-East Asia: ICRC moot courts – because IHL matters

09 March 2016

Students in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Viet Nam have been putting their IHL skills to the test in a series of moot court competitions, where they play the role of prosecution or defence in a war crimes trial. The winners in each country go forward to the 14th Red Cross International Humanitarian Moot, which will be held in Hong Kong in March 2016.

The ICRC encourages IHL teaching and research worldwide in order to promote human dignity.

Student competitions are just as important as courses and seminars for promoting IHL and other relevant areas of law. These events involve students taking on various roles that form part of contemporary IHL practice.

Competitions bring together dynamic and motivated students eager to put into practice what they learnt, while victory for a team reinforces the integration of IHL in its university.

In 2015, the ICRC worked with leading academic institutions in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, to hold IHL moot court competitions (mock trials) as a way of generating interest in IHL.

This year's moot case at the national rounds in each participating country was about the violation of IHL and international criminal law in armed conflicts. The judges were IHL experts and practitioners from the various governments, together with lecturers, advisors, and the ICRC.

The participating teams had to apply IHL and public international law to the moot problem in their roles as prosecutors and defendants.

The winning team from each country will compete in the 14th Red Cross International Humanitarian Moot, which will be held in Hong Kong in March 2016.

Graziella Leite Piccoli is the deputy head of the ICRC's regional delegation in Bangkok. She expressed the hope that "the students who have gone through this experience will pursue further studies or research in IHL, or related topics, and that they will go back to their universities and coach and motivate the teams that we hope to see joining the IHL moot courts in the years to come."

Watch videos from the four national rounds of the ICRC moot court competition