Moot Courts

Presentation of the moot courts during orientation week Presentation of the moot courts during orientation week

Taking the Law out of the Books

As part of the curriculum, our LLM students can participate in two moot courts, the prestigious Jean-Pictet Competition on international humanitarian law (IHL) and the Nuremberg Moot Court Competition, as well as in public pleadings on specific conflict situations.

Jean-Pictet Competition

The Jean-Pictet Competition is recognized as the leading IHL competition and one of the most innovative training programmes for students in public international law. This week-long event 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.

Three students can participate in this leading moot court following a competitive selection process carried out by a Geneva Academy jury. For selected students, participation replaces two optional courses and can be validated for 6 ECTS credits.

In 2016 the Geneva Academy team won this prominent IHL moot for the first time.

Nuremberg Moot Court Competition

The Nuremberg Moot Court Competition is organized by the International Nuremberg Principles Academy. It is held in Courtroom 600 of the Nuremberg Palace of Justice, where the famous Post-World War II trials took place. The Nuremberg Moot Court Competition preserves this legacy of the fight against impunity, promoting and implementing the knowledge of international criminal law and the Nuremberg Principles, which are the foundation of criminal courts worldwide.

The Moot Court takes place every summer. Teams from around the world gather together to present their legal briefs before a panel of judges, comprised of world-renowned experts. Each team presents either as the prosecution or the defence. Teams are evaluated for the content of their briefs as well as their presentation skills, team work and spirit.

Public Pleadings

As part of the IHL course, LLM students participate in two public pleadings on specific conflict situations like the Gaza conflict in summer 2014 or the 2008 South Ossetian conflict.

Teams are assigned specific roles and plead, in front of a jury, on concrete issues related to the conflict. These include: classification of conflict and applicable law; classification of territory and persons; killing and destruction of property; use of weapons and precautionary measures during ground and air offensives; targeting of persons; detention of prisoners by armed forces and armed groups.

To teach International Humanitarian Law (IHL) at the Geneva Academy is a unique pleasure and challenge: nowhere else will you find so many brilliant young people from all around the world, keen to specialize in IHL and to work in this field; nowhere else will I be subject to so many challenging questions on the most cutting-edge IHL issues, many of which I discover thanks to the students, but some of which I am perfectly unable to answer.

Marco Sassòli

Professor of International Law at the University of Geneva

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