In keeping with its mandate to disseminate and uphold International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and humanitarian principles, the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society (SLRCS) will host this year’s National IHL Moot Court Competition.
This is the first time ever that the National Red Cross Society is organising the competition and the series mark the fourth inter-collegiate contest on IHL in Sierra Leone for students in university colleges and tertiary institutions of Sierra Leone.
The IHL Moot Court Competition is a training event on IHL intended for students and aims at “taking law out of the books”.
During the competition, students are placed in a mock armed conflict situation. Assuming the roles of prosecution and defence lawyers, they have to deal with allegations of violations of IHL and to argue their case before a panel of judges (confirmed experts in IHL). This exercise allows the students to acquire knowledge of this body of law while at the same time appreciate its practical relevance.
Altogether, six teams comprising three students each from Njala University College, Milton Margai College of Education & Technology, Fourah Bay College, International Institute of Islamic Studies and the Northern and Eastern Polytechnics have been pre-selected to participate in the competition.
The students will be judged on their knowledge of IHL and public international law, their capacity to use the instruments of law to argue a study case, their teamwork and the quality of their oral expression.
Whilst the case they will work on is purely fictional, they will face a panel of experts in a real court setting in the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
The preliminaries begin on the 5th and 6th May 2008 at the SLRCS Fundraising Centre in Freetown culminating in a grand finale at Trial Chamber II of the Special Court for Sierra Leone on 7th May 2008.
The college or institution that emerges as winner will represent Sierra Leone at the 8th International IHL Moot Court Competition to be held in Arusha (Tanzania) in November 2008.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) initiated the national IHL moot court competition for university colleges in 2005 in Sierra Leone, within the framework of its mandate to support the efforts of States in disseminating International Humanitarian Law.
More than six years after the armed conflict ended in Sierra Leone, the ICRC continues a gradual scaling down of its presence in Sierra Leone giving prominence to the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society in maters related to Red Cross activities in the country.