Taking law out of the classroom and putting it into action

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Five teams from universities across Ireland gathered at the Criminal Courts of Justice, Dublin, to compete for the Corn Adomnain on Saturday 7th March 2015. An annual Irish Red Cross competition, Corn Adomnain provides students with an opportunity to apply their knowledge of international humanitarian law to real-life situations

A host of Ireland’s legal and defence experts were involved with judging the competition including Defence Force representatives, members of the judiciary, barristers and humanitarian practitioners.

Throughout the day, teams assumed the roles of various actors within situations of conflict. Roles included those of legal advisors to fact-finding commissions, armed forces personnel and Red Cross field delegates. Scenarios were then presented to the student teams requiring them to quickly decide on their course of action under fire, negotiate with state agencies to ensure the protection of people detained in relation to conflict and advise on the legality of so-called ‘drone strikes’.

The day concluded with teams from Queen’s University Belfast and the Law Society of Ireland battling it out in a moot tribunal demonstrating their skills and knowledge in what was a closely contested final round. Jonathan Shortall, Emma Lawrence and Christopher McCann representing the Law Society of Ireland emerged victorious as the applicant team, arguing that their fictitious clients were entitled to prisoner of war status with the full range of protections afforded by international humanitarian law.

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.

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