Three Prizes Awarded to Graduating Students for their Exceptional Academic Work

7 November 2022

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

Under the guidance of a faculty member, they develop their knowledge on a particular subject and explore the limits of protective frameworks and ways to overcome them.

‘The writing of a master’s paper is an essential component of both programmes as it allows students to apply what they have learned throughout the year to a concrete case’ says Professor Gloria Gaggioli, Director of the Geneva Academy.

‘With our three prizes – the Henry Dunant Research Prize, the Best LLM Paper Prize and the Best MTJ Paper Prize – awarded during the Graduation Ceremony, we recognize the exceptional academic work of three graduating students’ she adds.

Henry Dunant Research Prize: Addressing the Civilian Population in a Non-Homogenous Fashion in the Conduct of Hostilities

Sophie Timmermans received from the hands of Cécile Martinez Dunant – a descendant of Henry Dunant – the 2022 Henry Dunant Research Prize awarded with the Foundation Henry Dunant for her paper Addressing the Non-Homogenous Nature of the Civilian Population in the Conduct of Hostilities: Enhanced Protection through Differentiation.

‘This paper brings a new layer of analysis in international humanitarian law (IHL) – in particular regarding the rules on the conduct of hostilities – as it suggests addressing the civilian population in a non-homogenous fashion by taking into account specific vulnerabilities when interpreting and applying the principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions. The argument made – if accepted – would probably revolutionize the way we apply the conduct of hostilities principles’ explains Professor Gloria Gaggioli, supervisor of Sophie Timmermans LLM paper.

‘There is no question that this paper perfectly meets the criteria for the attribution of the Henry Dunant Research Prize since the fight against discrimination and the protection of the most vulnerable have been at the heart of the Henry Dunant’s battles. By calling upon the belligerents to take into account the regimes of enhanced protection in the conduct of hostilities, Sophie Timmermans really followed the steps of Henry Dunant and took up one of his battles. Such advocacy is fully consonant with the spiritual heritage of Henry Dunant and with the criteria of the Henry Dunant Research Prize’ underlined the Jury composed of representatives from the Henry Dunant Foundation – François Bugnion, Cathy Clément and Morgane Desboeufs –, Professor Gloria Gaggioli for the Geneva Academy and Anne Quintin, who represents the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Sophie Timmermans’s paper will hopefully be published – based on the partnership developed with the International Review of the Red Cross – in a coming edition of this leading publication on IHL, humanitarian policy and humanitarian action.

Best LLM Paper Prize: Open-Source Intelligence in Armed Conflict

Edward Millett received the 2022 Best LLM Paper Prize for his LLM paper Open-Source Intelligence, Armed Conflict, and the Rights to Privacy and Data Protection.

‘Edward Millett’s paper addresses a very timely topic as he delves into the opportunities, threats and conceptual challenges associated with the use of open-source intelligence (OSINT) during armed conflict and in humanitarian settings. His thesis is original and provides at the same time a convincing and orthodox legal analysis.’ explains Professor Giovanni Distefano, a member of the jury for the LLM and MTJ Best Paper Prizes along with Professors Gloria Gaggioli and Professor Sévane Garibian.

Best MTJ Paper Prize: Corporate Social Responsibility in Post-Conflict

Francesco Pipicella received the 2022 Best MTJ Paper Prize for his MTJ paper The Corporate Social Responsibility to Strengthen State Institutions in Post-Conflict Environments.

‘By looking at legal and political theory, transitional justice, and business and human rights, the paper develops the argument that corporations can play a key role in strengthening very fragile states that find themselves dealing with a post-conflict context, and offers clear perspectives regarding where such a contribution can take place and in which manner. The ability of the dissertation to link normative arguments with practical perspectives is one of its key contributions. It bridges a gap often found between those that look at things from a theory perspective and those that are concerned with practical answers’ says Professor Clara Sandoval, supervisor of Francesco Pipicella MTJ paper.

‘This excellent dissertation shows knowledge, depth, analysis and reflection. It is the result of combining different disciplinary approaches, has a good structure and is rigorous on the data used’ she adds.

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