Supreme and High Court Judges presided over moot courts and mock briefings of an Oireachtas committee at the inaugural Irish Red Cross Corn Adomnáin competition this week. The competition, hosted in Dublin’s Criminal Courts of Justice, provided students with an opportunity to apply their knowledge of International Humanitarian Law to “real-life” situations.
Five university teams from Galway, Maynooth and Dublin, competed in the one day competition, assuming the responsibilities of various roles within situations of conflict. Roles included those of legal advisors to UN peacekeeping forces and as humanitarian negotiators. Scenarios were then presented to the student teams requiring them to negotiate with armed forces to prevent the targeting of hospital workers and to ‘brief the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade on Syria’.
A host of Ireland’s legal and defence experts took part in the competition including members of the Judiciary, Barristers and Defence Force representatives. President of the Supreme Court of Ireland, Chief Justice Denham congratulated the participating teams, stating “At the heart of this competition, is the promotion of the dignity of every human being. International humanitarian law is essential to realise this noble goal. All the students should be very proud of their participation in promoting this concept today”.
The competition finally saw two teams, both from NUI Galway; demonstrate their skills and knowledge in a moot court final. Luke Hamilton, Andrea Westcott-Lacoursiere and Richard O’Connor emerged victorious as the defence team, arguing whether the recent upsurge of violence between the drug cartels and government of Mexico can be classified as an internal disturbance or as a non-international armed conflict where International Humanitarian Law applies.
International Humanitarian Law (IHL) is a set of rules which for humanitarian reasons seek to limit the effects of armed conflict. The Irish Red Cross has a long held commitment to increasing awareness of international humanitarian law, which seeks to limit the effects of armed conflict, and to give tangible recognition to human dignity. This involves engagement with public authorities, training of armed forces, national studies, education and public debate.