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Philippines: law schools vie for top spot in humanitarian law competition

03-09-2012 News Release 12/177

Manila (ICRC) – The battle for the best resumes this year as students from 12 law schools participate in the annual National Moot Court Competition on International Humanitarian Law from 3 to 7 September at De La Salle University in Manila.

For the first time, the Justice Ines Luciano Best Mooter Award will be given, paying tribute to a passionate supporter of humanitarian law and of the competition. The award was named after the Court of Appeals associate justice and chairperson of the IHL Committee of the Philippine Red Cross who passed away last year. It will recognize the highest-ranking oralist in the elimination rounds.

The event is the country's largest moot court competition. Twelve teams using their argumentative skills and knowledge of international humanitarian law will try to win their case before a mock International Criminal Court.

"The moot court competition has gone a long way since 2005, when only six schools participated," said Evecar Cruz-Ferrer, legal adviser of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Manila. "It has taught many former law students, who are now in practice, to understand and appreciate international humanitarian law."

To make the competition tougher, a "power-matching" system will be implemented so top-ranking teams will be pitted against the lower-ranking teams during the quarterfinals and semifinals. This should ensure that the two best teams will clash in the finals.

The participating law schools for 2012 are University of the Philippines College of Law, Far Eastern University-Manila, San Sebastian College Recoletos-Manila, San Beda College of Law-Manila, Ateneo de Manila Law School, Southwestern University, Saint Louis University, University of Batangas, University of Saint La Salle, University of the Cordilleras, Cor Jesu College Law School and De La Salle University College of Law.

The finals – to be held at the Supreme Court en banc session hall – will be judged by a panel of experts including Supreme Court Associate Justice Roberto Abad, Dr Mario Aguja of Mindanao State University-General Santos City, lawyer and Philippine Red Cross governor Lorna Kapunan, ICRC regional legal adviser Christopher Harland, and Brigadier General Domingo Tutaan Jr. of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Human Rights Office.

The competitors will also participate in a role-play challenge to simulate practical applications of the body of law that seeks to limit, for humanitarian reasons, the effects of war. A special ceremony at the National Museum's Marble Hall will be held for the launch of the latest volume of the Asia-Pacific IHL Yearbook, a publication of the University of the Philippines-Institute of International Legal Studies supported by the ICRC.

This annual competition for law students in the Philippines is organized by the ICRC, the Philippine Red Cross and the Supreme Court. Last year, the University of Cebu swept the awards and ranked third overall at the Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Moot Competition, an inter-university competition for the Asia-Pacific region. This year's winner will also represent the Philippines in the regionals, to be held in Hong Kong in 2013.

For further information, please contact:
Allison Lopez, ICRC Manila, tel: +63 908 868 68 84