Three Prizes Distinguish Graduate Students for their Master’s Papers

8 November 2021

Students of our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights (LLM) and Master of Advanced Studies in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law (MTJ) have to submit – once courses are completed – a master’s paper in which they discuss a specific issue addressed in their programme.

Under the guidance of a faculty member, they apply the legal frameworks acquired during the year to a specific issue, develop their knowledge on a particular subject, and explore the limits of protective frameworks and ways to overcome them.

‘This writing exercise is a key part of our two programmes. After a year at the Geneva Academy, our students are very well equipped to embark on this: they have the legal tools in their hands to discuss a contemporary challenge or situation and propose concrete and feasible solutions to address it’ says Professor Gloria Gaggioli, Director of the Geneva Academy.

‘This capacity of carrying out research, developing – in a limited number of pages – an argument, and proposing solutions is not only useful for those who want to pursue an academic career, but also for those who want to work in international organizations, NGOs, government or the legal sector’ she adds.

Three prizes – the Henry Dunant Research Prize, the Best LLM Paper Prize and the Best MTJ Paper Prize – distinguished three graduating students at the Graduation Ceremony for their exceptional academic work.

‘Safe Zones’: A Protective Alternative to Flight or a Tool of Refugee Containment?

Harriet Macey received the 2021 Henry Dunant Research Prize – awarded by the Geneva Academy and the Foundation Prix Henry Dunant – for her LLM paper ‘Safe Zones’: A Protective Alternative to Flight or a Tool of Refugee Containment?.

‘This paper addresses the so-called ‘safe zones’ and the potential threat they pose to the international legal protection afforded to those fleeing armed conflicts. Using the example of the Turkish ‘safe zones’ in Northern Syria, the author clarifies the legal framework surrounding their existence and demonstrates that, even when they comply with certain minimum standards, the volatility and complexities of today’s armed conflicts means that they should not, and cannot, act as a substitute for genuine and robust refugee protection under international law’ says Professor Vincent Chetail, President of the Geneva Academy Board and supervisor of Harriet Macey's LLM paper.

Humanizing Siege Warfare: Applying the Principle of Proportionality to Sieges

Maxime Nijs received the 2021 Best LLM Paper Prize for his LLM paper Humanizing Siege Warfare: Applying the Principle of Proportionality to Sieges.

‘As highlighted recently in Syria – whether in Homs, Eastern Ghouta or Mosul – sieges are still commonly used a method of warfare, with a severe impact on the trapped civilian populations. Maxime’s paper convincingly argues that the principle of proportionality applies to sieges and requires continuous monitoring. Such an interpretation may substantially reduce human suffering in siege warfare while taking into account the alleged military necessity of such a method of warfare’ explains Professor Gaggioli, supervisor of Maxime Nijs' LLM paper.

Publication in the International Review of the Red Cross

The Henry Dunant Research Prize distinguishes every year an LLM student for an original and didactical LLM paper that deepens, strengthens and renews the ideals and commitments of Henry Dunant. Through this award, the Henry Dunant Prize Foundation and the Geneva Academy motivate young people to disseminate knowledge on international rules that protect victims of armed conflict and states of emergency.

As of this academic year, recipients of the Henry Dunant prize will have the opportunity to publish in the International Review of the Red Cross, a leading publication on international humanitarian law, humanitarian policy and humanitarian action. The sole instances in which such publication might not be possible is if it the paper would fall outside the Review’s editorial line or if it might jeopardize the International Committee of the Red Cross’ field operations.

‘Harriet’s paper will therefore be the first one to be published in the review. This is a tremendous opportunity and we are very grateful to the International Review of the Red Cross for this exposure that attests to the quality and academic excellence of our students’ says Professor Gloria Gaggioli, Director of the Geneva Academy.

This is highlighted by the fact that two other papers will be – or have already been – published in the International Review of the Red Cross. The MTJ paper of Issa Herrera, which discusses the collaboration with organized crime in the search for disappeared persons in Mexico, has just been published. Maxime Nijs’ LLM paper on siege warfare will be published in an upcoming edition on emerging voices in international humanitarian law, policy and action.

Post-Conflict Rehabilitation for Victims of Micro to Macro Health Violence

Dasha Reddy received the 2021 Best MTJ Paper Prize for her MTJ paper Post-Conflict Rehabilitation for Victims of Micro to Macro Health Violence.

‘This is a highly original and unique paper that is well written, researched, and of substantive quality. Dasha Reddy takes a range of topics that have not been linked before and sets out to create an innovative exploration of how rehabilitation can adequately address micro to macro health violence in post-conflict societies. This superb piece of work stretches the boundaries of how we think about rehabilitation and also expands the horizons of transitional justice’ says Professor Brandon Hamber, supervisor of Dasha Reddy's MTJ paper.

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