Students Reach Semi-Finals in First Appearance at International Humanitarian Law Moot Court

New York, April 23, 2015—The International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Moot Court team at Columbia Law School successfully competed in the 27th Annual Jean-Pictet Competition held earlier this month in Charlottesville, Virginia, reaching the semi-final stage.

Out of an original 105 teams, 56 were selected to participate in the weeklong intensive international competition. This was the first year that Columbia Law School students participated in the event, and the team was among the final 14 law schools from all over the world to advance to the semi-final stage.
(left to right) Martin J. Willner '17, Claire C. O'Connell '16, and Lauren Aarons '15 LL.M. during the 2015 Jean-Pictet Competition. O'Connell and Aarons are wearing military costumes, playing the part of military advisers in the international humanitarian law moot.
While most moot competitions are brief based, the Jean-Pictet Competition focuses on simulating the real-life legal decisions made by military advisers, legal advisers, and humanitarian aid workers on a daily basis in armed conflict zones. The competition involves a fact pattern that evolves through seven various simulations in which participants adopt different roles and respond to new legal hurdles.
In this year’s competition, participants focused on issues such as children participating in hostilities, environmental consequences of military targeting, detentions in non-international armed conflicts, and the immunities of peacekeepers. The week also allows for unique opportunities to network with IHL practitioners, as all of the judges are prominent IHL scholars and jurists. Special Adviser to the U.N. Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, judged the final round of the competition in Charlottesville.
Columbia Law School team members were: Lauren Aarons ’15 LL.M., Claire C. O’Connell ’16 , and Martin J. Willner ’17. The team was coached by Yael Naggan ’15 LL.M.
The Jean-Pictet Competition is the leading international humanitarian law moot court competition, and one of the most innovative training programs in public international law for law students.  Every year, approximately 150 students representing 48 universities from over 30 countries take part.