LLM Students Successfully Plead Online on the Gaza 2014 Conflict

Destroyed building in Gaza, 2014 Destroyed building in Gaza, 2014

28 April 2020

The conflict in and around Gaza in July-August 2014, called by Israel ‘Operation Protective Edge’, claimed many civilian victims and gave rise to numerous mutual accusations of violations of international humanitarian law (IHL). In 2015, a United Nations Commission of Inquiry made its findings on violations on IHL and human rights committed in this conflict public and the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided to proceed with an investigation into that situation.

In the framework of the IHL course of our LLM in IHL and Human Rights, students pleaded online during the entire day of 25 April for Israel and for Palestine arguing that the side they represent has respected IHL while the adverse side has violated IHL.

In front of a jury composed of Professor Marco Sassòli, Director of the Geneva Academy who teaches this course, and Öykü Irmakkesen, Teaching Assistant who tutors this course, teams of two students (whose roles were attributed by the lot) have pleaded, most in English, some in French on:

  • The classification of the conflict, of Gaza as an occupied territory and the applicable law
  • The blockade of Gaza and Israel’s obligations concerning humanitarian needs
  • The targeting of persons and objects and weapons used
  • Proportionality and precautions in attacks
  • The opportunities and obstacles of criminal proceedings before the ICC.

LLm Pleadings Gaza online

A High Level of Commitment and A Successful Exercise

It is the first time that these pleadings take place online, but Professor Sassòli is enthusiastic about the results in several respects.

‘Despite the difficult situation linked to the COVID-19, students – nearly all of whom come from abroad and are therefore even more isolated than others here in Geneva or in their home countries they returned to, and although teams had to prepare without face-to-face contact – showed a total commitment to the task and the highest level professionalism. All pleadings turned out to be good, very good or excellent’.

‘During the IHL class so far, students had been evaluated on written tasks. This oral pleading clearly demonstrated that students who are not particularly strong in written exams can be very impressive in exercises such as pleadings and clearly convey their substantive arguments, which are also legally accurate. This shows progress during the academic year, but also how important it is that we take different kinds of performances into account in our evaluation’.

‘Technology allowed all students to plead realistically. Only one student had to turn off her image because of an unstable Internet connection, but she could proceed with her pleading with her voice only’ underlines Öykü Irmakkesen.

LLM Pleadings Gaza online Marco

Upcoming Online Pleadings on the 2008 Conflict in Georgia

In three weeks, the other half of the class will plead online according to the same formula in favour of Russia and Georgia concerning the armed conflict in Georgia in 2008.

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

News

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 – 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.

Read more

Online conference on the status and protection of animals in armed conflict News

Two-Day Conference Discusses the Status and Protection of Animals in Armed Conflict

29 June 2020

On 11 and 26 June 2020, academics and experts in the field of international humanitarian law, international criminal law, and animal law discussed online controversial issues related to the status and protection of animals in armed conflict in the context of a research project on this issue.

Read more

Short Course

The Law of Non-International Armed Conflicts

15 April - 4 June 2021

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, discusses the protection offered by international humanitarian law (IHL) in non-international armed conflicts (NIACs) and addresses some problems and controversies specific to IHL of NIACs, including the difficulty to ensure the respect of IHL by armed non-state actors.

Read more

The UN Security Council Short Course

Introduction to Public International Law and Subjects of the International Legal Order

2 October - 10 December 2020

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, focuses on the role of public international law in international relations and on international legal persons.

Read more

Screen Shot of Obsolete, a game made for the 7DFPS project in 7 days. Download for PC and Mac Project

Disruptive Military Technologies

Started in February 2020

Read more

Séléka rebels patrol in the town of Bria, Central African Republic (CAR). Project

Human Rights Responsibilities and Armed Non-State Actors

Started in June 2018

This research aims at building a common understanding and vision as to how states and the relevant parts of the UN system can provide a concrete and practical framework to address human rights responsibilities of armed non-state actors.

Read more

Cover page of the Annual Report 2019 Publication

Annual Report 2019

published on May 2020

Read more

Cover of the publication Publication

From Words to Deeds: A Study of Armed Non-State Actors’ Practice and Interpretations of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Norms

published on December 2019

Annyssa Bellal, Pascal Bongard, Ezequiel Heffes

Read more