The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been organizing an International Humanitarian Law (IHL) competition amongst law students in English speaking African countries for more than a decade. Since 2016 the ICRC delegation in Ethiopia has organized National Moot court competitions in which the winning team qualifies for the All Africa moot court competition along with the third best oralist of the competition.
In 2016 Addis Ababa University won the national moot court held in Mekelle and alongside a student from Jimma University went on to the semi-finals of the All Africa IHL competition.
This year, in the National IHL moot court competition which was held in Addis Ababa University, the then 4th years now 5th-year students from Addis Ababa University Amen Taye and Lea Mehari won from 8 universities in the Country.
Alongside Amen Taye and Lea Mehari was Noah Yesuf a 5th-year law student from Wollo University. These three law students went on to Arusha, Tanzania to compete in the All Africa IHL competition.
The competition comprised of students from 10 different countries namely Ethiopia, South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Malaysia as a guest team from Southeast Asia.
The All Africa IHL competition is a weeklong competition that consists of intensive IHL courses in the morning and role play competitions in the afternoon pertaining to the morning courses. The competitors are expected to take the role of ICRC personnel, legal advisors to the president or the military and even the rebel groups to mention a few.
These role plays went on for five days and at the end, four universities out of the 10 went on to the semi-finals, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. For the semi-finals Ethiopia faced Uganda and after an intensive semi-final round, Ethiopia made it to the finals with Zimbabwe.
The final round in which Amen Taye, Leah Mehari and Noah Yesuf went as a defense against Team Zimbabwe defending war crimes committed. This round was held at the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunal (MICT) which was actually the setting for the tribunal of the Rwanda Genocide. Team Ethiopia was runner-up in the finals and made history in being in the finals of an international moot court competition after the 1970’s.
The team representing Ethiopia also won the prestigious “Henry Dunant” prize which is a prize voted for by the competitors as well as the organizers of the competition. The criteria for this award is the team that most personifies the founder of the Red Cross movement Henry Dunant. These include compassion, humanity, knowledge in IHL and participation in the courses.
The competition was finalized on the 25th of November 2017.