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Kenyan university students win prestigious competition on IHL

02-12-2006 News Release

Students from the University of Nairobi beat 11 other teams to emerge winners at the 6th annual International Humanitarian Law (IHL) competition. The competition was organized by the ICRC with the assistance of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) from 25 November to 2 December in Arusha, Tanzania.

 The following was issued as a press release by the ICRC delegation in Nairobi  

The competition aims to increase exposure and further develop students'understanding of IHL and humanitarian action through simulation and advocacy. Twelve teams of three students from nine countries in Africa participated in the event.

Each team was placed in a fictitious humanitarian situation and was required to role-play different scenarios. These ranged from simulating ICRC delegates in their line of work to members of armed forces planning an operation. The case facts drew from contemporary conflicts, without referring directly to any real situation.

The teams competed in five preliminary rounds before two teams were chosen for the final round held at the ICTR. 

The president of the ICTR Judge Erik Mose, who was one of 3 ICTR judges on the 6-judge panel, commended the participants.'' The standards of the competition this year were much higher than in some previous years.''

This is the fourth win for the University of Nairobi out of six editions of the competition. Edwin Okuta, a member of the winning team stated that the victory came as a surprise to him as all the participants displayed equal potential.'' We never expected to win, as it was a very difficult competition. However, we combined creativity and hard work which saw us come back with the trophy.''

The winning team received a monetary prize as well as a per petual trophy, which they hold until next year's competition. The best speaker in the final, Idriss Irshad from the University of Nairobi receives a 3-month sponsored internship at the ICTR.

The runner-up team, which also received a monetary prize, was Johannesburg’s University of Witwatersrand. Other teams participating were the United States International University (USIU), Kampala International University, Uganda Christian University, University of Western Cape, Abia State University, Midlands State University (Zimbabwe); Addis Ababa University, University of Sierra Leone, University of Dar es Salaam and the National University of Rwanda.

The annual competition is organized and run by the ICRC's regional delegation in Nairobi as part of ICRC's work in developing IHL teaching programmes in Universities. The participants are usually third or fourth year students in law, sociology, journalism or international relations.

Promoting IHL is one of the core functions of the ICRC. The ICRC works in more than 80 countries worldwide with an exclusively humanitarian mission to protect and assist victims of war and internal violence.


For more information, please contact:
  Leonard Blazeby, ICRC Nairobi, +254 (0) 722 202039
  Anne Mucheke, ICRC Nairobi, +254 20 2723963 / 2713367