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:
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.
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.
As part of the programme’s annual study trip, students of our LLM in International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Human Rights travelled to Belgrade, Sarajevo and Budapest where they met experts and institutions who work in the fields of IHL, international human rights law and international criminal law.
Chiemelie Michael Agu is enrolled in our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. He will travel to Bali, Indonesia to represent the Geneva Academy at the Anglophone Edition of the 2020 Jean-Pictet Competition – along with Melina Fidelis Tzourou and Yulia Mogutova.
In this online event co-organized with the ATLAS Network, prominent women in international law will share their experience and advice through an interactive discussion.
This online IHL Talk will provide an overview of the rules of international law providing protection to the natural environment, as well as of initiatives aimed at clarifying and/or reinforcing such rules.
Resulting from traditional legal research and informal interviews with experts, the project aims at examining how – if at all possible – IHL could be more systematically, appropriately and correctly dealt with by the human rights mechanisms emanating from the Charter of the United Nations, as well from universal and regional treaties.
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.