KU students win All Africa Competition on international humanitarian law

Monday, December 6th, 2021 06:18 |
Kenyatta University students walk past the institution’s main gate. Photo/PD/File

Kenyatta University (KU) students are the winners of All Africa Competition on International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

The students beat six other international teams, in the competition hosted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Nairobi.

The winning team members were Raphael Gitau and Gladys Nyangweso from Kenyatta University.

Gitau, who was also voted the best speaker by the judging panel, said
the competition was unique since it not only focused on the competitive
element but the jury started off as their teachers.

“We were very glad to win and this has motivated us to believe we can do more with our law degrees outside of private practice,” he said.

In a debate round, the students showcased their knowledge of inter- national criminal law, arguing for and against the prosecution for war crimes of a character before a judging panel consisting of ICRC legal experts
and invited judges.

Other than KU other participants were drawn from Kampala International University (Uganda), Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife (Nigeria), Kigali Independent University (Rwanda), Bahirdar University (Ethiopia) and the University of Juba (South Sudan).

The participating students were sponsored to take part in the competition after winning national IHL compe- titions in their respective countries.

ICRC legal advisor Jemma Arman said the judges were satisfi with the
standard of the students.

“The students tactfully debated the legal classification of the situation and principles governing the way that force can lawfully be used in times of armed conflict In particular we enjoyed robust legal arguments in relation to the principle of proportionality, and also command responsibility,” said

She said that the students are a credit to their institutions and demonstrate the strength of international humanitarian law teaching in institutions across Africa.

The competition aims at increasing awareness and interest in IHL in academic institutions across Africa, foster IHL research initiatives and develop a generation of IHL conscious persons.

The students participate in a series of lectures and also take part in scenarios where they were challenged through role-play to put IHL into action.

Students are also rewarded for good ethics, with the Henry Dunant prize being awarded to the team that best displays compassion, humanity and empathy.

This year’s competition was the 20th since inception.

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