An Intense and Rewarding Week at the Jean-Pictet Competition

3 April 2020

During one week, Berta Fernández Rosón, Melina Fidelis Tzourou and Yulia Mogutova – currently enrolled in our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights (LLM) – represented the Geneva Academy at the 34th edition of the Jean-Pictet Competition that took place in Denpasar, Indonesia. They reached the finals of the competition.

In the Shoes of an ICRC Delegate or of an Armed Group Member

This intense week was marked by real-life situations – such as negotiating access to an enclave with an armed group or delivering humanitarian aid – where the Geneva Academy team acted alternately as delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross, members of an armed group, or representatives of the Ministry of Defense or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

‘Their ability to adopt legal arguments in accordance with their different roles convinced the jury, which allowed them to reach the finals of this prestigious competition’ explains Professor Marco Sassòli, Director of the Geneva Academy.

‘We are particularly proud of them as the composition of the team changed at the last minute due to the fact that Chiemelie Michael Agu could not get his visa and was therefore replaced by Berta Fernández Rosón’ he adds.

A Rewarding Experience

The competition was also the occasion to develop enriching exchanges with the members of the jury and the other participants from 30 countries, who all gathered around their passion for this branch of international law, often called the ‘Geneva law’.

‘Participating in Jean Pictet on behalf of the Geneva Academy was one of the most enriching, all-encompassing experiences I have ever had as a student. The competition challenged me not only as an academic exercise but also on a personal level and profoundly influenced the way I conceptualize international humanitarian law by offering me a glimpse into how this field of law works in practice’ says Melina Fidelis Tzourou.

‘Pictet has been a unique opportunity to apply our newly acquired theoretical knowledge to practical (and very realistic) scenarios we will probably face in the near future. It has challenged us individually, as a group, as students and as future professionals. I cannot imagine a more complete training than this experience!’ underlines Berta Fernández Rosón

‘The Jean Pictet Competition was not only an exciting adventure but also a very challenging experience from both personal and professional perspectives. I believe that Pictet provides the participants with a unique opportunity to see what work in the humanitarian field is, but even more important, it teaches to think out of the box and demonstrates that wars indeed have rules. I am very grateful for the opportunity to represent the Geneva Academy at this outstanding IHL competition and to meet all the amazing people who share the same values I do’ says Yulia Mogutova.

Part of the LLM Curriculum

Participation in this major IHL competition forms part of the LLM curriculum.

The three LLM students were selected following a competitive process and were coached by George Dvalaze, Teaching Assistant at the Geneva Academy. Their participation in the Jean-Pictet Competition replaces two optional courses (6 ECTS credits).

‘Our LLM students have been participating in the Jean-Pictet competition since the beginning of the programme as it gives them exposure to concrete cases and allows them to put into practice what they are learning in class’ underlines Marco Sassòli.

The Jean-Pictet Competition

The Jean-Pictet Competition is recognized as the leading international humanitarian law (IHL) competition and one of the most innovative training programmes for students in public international law. It is a week-long event that tests students on their knowledge of and ability to implement IHL, as well as other branches of international law, through role-playing exercises based on a hypothetical armed conflict scenario. The dynamic structure of the competition encourages participants to consider IHL issues from various perspectives while allowing the jury to evaluate each team's theoretical knowledge, practical understanding, and presentation style.

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