Over three days in March 2011, acting as prosecutor or defence lawyer, students from as far afield as Bangladesh, Beijing, Cambodia, Canberra, Singapore and Sri Lanka faced tough questions from judges in the case of a colonel accused of war crimes in a fictional armed conflict.
In its ninth year, the event is aimed at promoting international humanitarian law (IHL), raising awareness of international humanitarian issues among law students, enhancing knowledge and application of IHL, promoting the spirit of humanity among law students and instilling knowledge of the role and work of the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement.
This year, the Law Moot brought together nearly 60 students, their coaches and more than 60 legal experts as judges and special guests. The event was organized by the Hong Kong Red Cross, the ICRC and the faculties of law of the University of Hong Kong, City University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
After an intense final round before a crowd of spectators at the Hong Kong High Court, the participants from Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand won the prize for top team. The team from Hidayatullah National Law University of Raipur, India finished a close second.
“I absolutely loved every bit of it,” said Sarah Wilson, a member of the winning team. “There are so many different teams here. It was wonderful just getting to meet everybody involved, like the mooters, the coaches and the judges, who all have so much experience. I’ll take so much away with me.”
At the award ceremony, Geoffrey Ma, Honourable Chief Justice of Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal, said: “The event highlights justice and what a fair trial entails. However serious the charge, however atrocious the activity, a fair trial is an absolute necessity for those who are accused.”
For all teams, the road to Hong Kong had started long before the competition, and involved many late nights studying IHL. Most teams had already competed in a local round to earn a spot at this regional event. The photos below describe some of their journeys, from courtroom performances back home to making new memories and friends from around the diverse Asia-Pacific region.
Team members Sam Humphrey and Sarah Wilson (pictured) also took second and third place respectively for best mooter. With a major disaster having struck her own country just days before competition, Sarah commented: “I come from Christchurch, where the earthquake did terrible damage. The [New Zealand] Red Cross has done an incredible job helping out, taking donations and starting to help people put everything back together.”