A Team of the Faculty of Law of Kazan (Volga Region) Federal University Took Part in the 25th anniversary International Jean Pictet Competition in International Humanitarian Law, which was held from March 02 to March 09, 2013 in Kanchanaburi, Thailand.
Jaen Pictet competition is one of the most famous and prestigious contests in international humanitarian law. Held for the first time in 1989 on initiative of Cristophe Lanord and Michel Deir, it is an annual event gathering students interested in international humanitarian law organized from all over the world.
This year 48 teams from various corners of the globe took part in the contest: teams from America, Argentina, France, Switzerland, Kenya, the Republic of South Africa, China, Singapore, Ecuador, India, Pakistan and others. According to the results of the extramural round only 2 teams from Russia were invited to participate in the competition: teams of Kazan (Volga Region) Federal University (Yakunina Tat’yana, Nafikova Alsu, Ostapenko Julia) and National Research University “Higher School of Economics”. Thanks to support of the IRCC in the Russian Federation, Belorussia, Moldavia and Ukraine, as well as that of the External Affairs Office of KFU and the Probation Unit of the Education Division of KFU a team of the Faculty of Law got an opportunity to take part in the intramural round of the competition.
The schedule was really tight: task distribution (correspondence between different participants of a conflict, a report of a mass media or human rights organisation about human rights violation during armed conflicts, press-release for urgent arrangement of round table devoted to a tense situation etc.), limited preparation period (15 minutes, hour or two hours), rounds themselves, during which participants demonstrated their knowledge of international law as a whole, as well as of international humanitarian law, international criminal law, human rights law by ways unusual for students: in a form of simulation of state Government session, meetings of the International Red Cross Committee (IRCC) delegates with representatives of “parties to the conflict”, bilateral and multilateral negotiations between parties to the conflict etc. Participants had not only to demonstrate their knowledge of law, but also to get the feel of their roles and show ability to stand ground and defend their position, as well as a well-coordinated team work.
All the teams demonstrated high-level knowledge of law. Jury included the following famous persons: IRCC representatives – Etienne Kuster, (Geneva, Switzerland), professors of universities of America (Bernard Dougherty, Chad Austin), China (Diane Desierto), Georgia (Tamar Tomashvilli), France (Xavier Philippe), Argentina (Emiliano Buis), Australia (Amrita Kapur), representatives of human rights organisations, practicing lawyers tightly dealing with the problems of human rights protection during armed conflicts, legal councilors of international tribunals (Chris Rassi).
An eminent scientist, author of multiple works in international humanitarian law, author of books that we use in our study, professor of Geneva Academy of Law – Marco Sassolli – became an honoured guest of the 25th anniversary Jean Pictet competition. In addition to rounds involving tasks, certain lectures on various aspects of the IHL were delivered by jury members in the framework of this event. Trainings aimed at team spirit development and team relations establishment were also conducted. Each team got a tutor estimating work of team members (a legal councilor of the American Red Cross – Eric Sigmund – was the tutor of the team of Kazan University). According to the results of 5 round days, 4 semifinalist teams were chosen in each group, and further on – 3 finalists. A team representing Australia (University of New South Wales) became the competition winner.
In spite of strength that could be felt in the air during the whole week, a spirit of competition between teams and a wish of each participant to show maximum, the atmosphere of the competition was very warm, cordial and harmonious. No difference between countries, colour of skin, age or competition status could be felt there: jury members were strict only during rounds, but in the evenings all people got together at dinners, shared their experience and practice referring to international law. In a word, during this week all 200 people (participants, jury, tutors, organizers) turned into a big “Pictet family”.