Auckland law students flying to Hong Kong for international Red Cross competition

Press Release – NZ Red Cross
Three Auckland University law students will next week travel to Hong Kong to represent New Zealand at an international humanitarian law (IHL) moot competition.

Anna Devathasan and Gretta Schumacher will compete with twenty teams from around the Asia-Pacific in the regional Red Cross IHL Moot Competition. They’ll be accompanied by their coach Ben Prewett and researcher Sara Chin.

The Auckland team won the right to represent New Zealand at the inaugural New Zealand Red Cross International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Moot Court Competition in November last year.

The national competition was co-hosted by New Zealand Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and saw teams from Auckland, Canterbury, Otago, Victoria and Waikato universities make their case on international legal issues.

International humanitarian law, sometimes known as the laws of wars, protects people who are not taking part in fighting – for example civilians, wounded soldiers and prisoners of war. It also restricts choice of weapons and how they can be used. The best-known of these laws are the Geneva Conventions.

The moot competition presented students with a complex scenario involving various legal issues, including the use of nuclear weapons, command chain responsibility and excessive force against civilians.

The Auckland team narrowly defeated Otago in a tightly-contested final at the historic Old High Court building, in front of a distinguished judging panel that included Supreme Court Justice Susan Glazebrook, Swiss Ambassador Dr Marion Weichelt Krupski, Law Commissioner and former Minister of Defence, Dr Wayne Mapp, and Chief Legal Advisor at NZDF Joint Forces Commander Chris Griggs. Both teams were praised for their persuasive and well-structured arguments.

New Zealand Red Cross Advocacy and Policy Manager Gabrielle Emery says the moot was an opportunity to get young people thinking about wars, laws and humanity.

“Many people are unaware of the importance of IHL in protecting humanity in times of conflict. The moot was a fantastic opportunity to engage some of our best and brightest young minds with this

fascinating and significant area of international law, and we are very pleased to have students of Anna and Gretta’s calibre representing New Zealand in Hong Kong.”

Anna and Gretta’s trip is jointly funded by New Zealand Red Cross and the ICRC.

The 11th Red Cross IHL Moot Competition will take place in Hong Kong on 14-16 March 2013 and the next New Zealand Red Cross national competition will be held in December.

ENDS

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