13 February 2023
Benjamin Greenacre, Anamika Pillai and Rodanthi Violaki will represent the Geneva Academy at the 40th Edition of the Jean-Pictet Competition that will take place from 25 February to 4 March 2023 in Durrës, Albania.
They are coached – in their preparation – by our Teaching Assistant Mina Radončić, who also participated with the Geneva Academy in the Jean-Pictet Competition back in 2021.
‘Participation in this leading competition is a great experience for our students from both our LLM and MTJ. It is very demanding as preparation is intense and comes on top of two demanding programmes. But it is also very rewarding: students not only learn to apply the law to concrete cases but also acquire invaluable soft skills like the ability to work in a team, to convince an audience, to argue about a case and to negotiate’ says Professor Gloria Gaggioli, Director of the Geneva Academy.
For the second time, the Geneva Academy team at Pictet involves students from both our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights (LLM) – Benjamin Greenacre and Rodanthi Violaki – and our Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law (MTJ) – Anamika Pillai.
‘Mixing students from our LLM and MTJ for the Pictet Competition tremendously enriches our team members’ experiences and perspectives, and allows them to learn about new issues, analyse topics from different angles, and create bounds beyond their respective programmes. It also proved to be very effective as last year’s mixed team reached the finals of the competition’ explains Professor Gaggioli.
Benjamin Greenacre is enrolled in our LLM. A British lawyer, formerly part of the UK Royal Marines reserve force, he has lived in Geneva since 2018, working for Human Rights Watch, the Universal Rights Group and then, during the three last years prior to joining us at the Geneva Academy, as a Senior Advisor to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. Since 2022, Benjamin has also been a consultant expert on digital technology and human rights for the OSCE Office on Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. (OSCE-ODIHR).
‘Getting to grips with a new area of law in a short period of time can be tough. Doing so in such a way as to be able to convincingly negotiate access to the prisoners of a non-state armed group is outright intimidating. There have been many late nights and long discussions on international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law with the team. But I think we would all agree that it is incredible how far we have come in such a short time. For that, I would like to thank our fantastic coach Mina, who has sacrificed many evenings and weekends to give us incredibly thorough practitioner training.’
‘Having worked exclusively in human rights for the last five years, I am now looking to incorporate more humanitarian law into my work. For me, the Jean-Pictet Competition is an unparalleled opportunity to take our legal and academic training ‘out of the books’ and apply it to testing, practical, humanitarian scenarios. I am particularly looking forward to seeing what the infamous ‘field round’ brings in Albania in February!’
Anamika Pillai is enrolled in our MTJ. Born in India and raised in Italy, she is a history graduate from University College London and an LLM graduate from BPP Law School. Anamika has extensive legal research experience and has worked at Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Clinic on a project focused on corporate accountability for gross human rights violations. She also has research experience on gender-based crimes and commercial legal experience.
‘I was particularly drawn to Pictet due to the competition’s unique style of simulations, which enables us to engage with IHL in an innovative and realistic manner. Through Pictet, I expect to build the necessary legal and communication skills that will contribute to my long-term career goals of working in the field to support victims of armed conflict-related violations’.
‘The preparation process is fulfilling. Each week, under the guidance of our diligent coach Mina, we expand our knowledge of IHL by engaging in scholarship, debates, practice simulations and much more! I eagerly anticipate applying our collective knowledge, skills and passion for IHL in Albania, very very soon…’.
Rodanthi Violaki is enrolled in our LLM. Coming from Greece, she holds a Bachelor's Degree in Public International Law and International Relations from the Panteion University of Athens and Sciences Po Bordeaux, where she spent a semester. Rodanthi also holds a Master's Degree in International Law and Governance, with a specialization in refugee law, the branch of international law she is passionate about.
Following the humanitarian refugee ‘crisis’ in 2015, Rodanthi dedicated her professional life to the refugee sector, aiming at ensuring the respect and implementation of migrants’ and refugees’ rights. Working as a Refugee Status Determination Officer at the Lesbos refugee camp, or as Head of Mission Assistant at Médecins Sans Frontières, her primary concern and focus has always been to grant asylum to everyone seeking international protection.
‘The preparation for the competition constitutes an amazing learning experience itself. Thanks to the dedication of our coach, we are becoming every week more confident and equipped with extensive knowledge and critical thinking on substantive matters of IHL. We have been introduced to a new dimension of IHL that takes the law out of the books and allows us to see through different layers of interpretation. Undoubtedly, knowing the law in depth, but applying it in a simple and efficient manner has been the most challenging but also most enjoyable part.’
‘The Jean-Pictet Competition is substantially different from other simulations due to its unique nature and modality. It requires the implementation of the acquired knowledge together with communication and negotiating competencies, team spirit, critical thinking and awareness of the objective of each role-play. What is more astonishing is that the simulations resemble actual situations on the ground and the Competition prepares us for future tasks that we might encounter in our professional life where IHL and other branches of international law aim to preserve the lives and dignity of human beings.’
Sandra Pointet/Geneva Academy
Exceptional academic papers are honoured with four distinguished prizes that acknowledge outstanding academic achievements: the Henry Dunant Research Prize, the Best LLM Paper Prize, the Best MTJ Paper Prize, and, for the inaugural time this year, the Best ExMas Paper Prize.
The papers aim to allow students to investigate a subject of special interest and deepen their expertise through research as well as exchanges with experts, scholars and practitioners.