Law schools battle it out at humanitarian law debate
MANILA, Philippines - The country's biggest moot court competition will tackle International Humanitarian Law, the law of armed conflict, from September 3 to 7.
A total of 12 law schools will battle it out before a mock International Criminal Court during the annual National Moot Court Competition which will be hosted by the De La Salle University Manila. They include the following:
- University of the Philippines College of Law
- Far Eastern University-Manila
- San Sebastian College Recoletos-Manila
- San Beda College of Law-Manila
- Ateneo de Manila Law School
- Southwestern University
- Saint Louis University
- University of Batangas
- University of Saint La Salle
- University of the Cordilleras
- Cor Jesu College Law School
- De La Salle University College of Law.
"The moot court competition has gone a long way since 2005 with only six participating schools. It has taught many former law students, who are now in practice, to understand and appreciate international humanitarian law," according to Evecar Cruz-Ferrer, legal adviser of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Manila.
The adoption of a "power-matching" mechanism in which top-ranking teams will debate with the lower-ranking teams during the quarterfinals and semifinals is expected to spark a tougher debate between teams.
The debate was designed so that the two teams with the best argumentative skills and sharpest knowledge of international humanitarian law will emerge to clash in the finals to be held at the Supreme Court en banc session hall.
A distinguished panel of experts will judge the debate: SC associate justice Roberto Abad, Dr Mario Aguja of Mindanao State University-General Santos City, lawyer and PRC governor Lorna Kapunan, ICRC regional legal adviser Christopher Harland, and Brig Gen Domingo Tutaan Jr of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Human Rights Office.
The University of Cebu won in last year's competition and finished third at the Red Cross International.
Role-playing international law
The debaters will also act out practical applications of the body of law that seeks to regulate the conduct of war and armed conflict between or among states and other forces.
The Geneva Conventions, the Hague Conventions, and other treaties and agreements constitute the International Humanitarian Law.
In 1998, the Philippine government and the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army/National Democratic Front signed the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL) to pave the way for peace talks.
Justice Ines Luciano Best Mooter Award
The Justice Ines Luciano Best Mooter Award will also be given for the first time to the best oralist in the elimination round. The award will be presented in honor of the late Court of Appeals associate justice and chairperson of the IHL Committee of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC).
Luciano, an avid advocate of humanitarian law and supporter of the competition, died in 2011.
The annual debate for law students in the Philippines is organized by the ICRC, PRC and the Supreme Court. - Rappler.com