IDC team wins 2nd Int’l Humanitarian Law competition

For the second year in a row, students from the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya won the 2011 Jean-Pictet International Humanitarian Law (IHL) competition, last Friday.
The competition, which was held from Sunday to Friday of last week in Najac, France, pits teams from universities around the world, each comprising three students, against each other, using role-playing and simulations to test their knowledge of international humanitarian law.
Like the IDC student body itself, the school’s team was a cosmopolitan assortment of students, including Israeli Yael Bar- Hillel, German Katja Knoechelmann, and Los Angeles native Brandon Weinstock. The team’s Israeli coach, Ido Rosenzweig, was himself a contestant in the competition a few years earlier.
According to the competition’s website, the contest “is a week-long training event on international humanitarian law (IHL) intended for students (undergraduate or above in law, political science, military academies, etc.). It consists in ‘taking law out of the books,’ by simulations and role plays, allowing the jury of the competition to evaluate teams’ theoretical knowledge and practical understanding of IHL. To register, teams must consist of three students, from the same institution, none of whom has taken part in the competition before and all of whom should generally be under 30 years old.”
The IDC team’s academic advisor, Dr. Daphne Richemond-Barak, said that the IDC’s second straight victory in the competition holds special importance for Israel.
“IHL is another expression for laws of war and it’s pretty amazing for an Israeli team to win this competition because it’s a field that is so significant and important to Israel and a field in which Israel is often criticized,” the academic advisor said.
Richemond-Barak, a professor at the Radzyner School of Law at the IDC, said the timing of the victory is important, coming the same day that Judge Richard Goldstone went back on his UN fact-finding report on the Cast Lead operation in a opinion piece published in The Washington Post.
“When we hear that Goldstone is thinking twice about his report and whether Israel confided or not in the law and knows the law and is capable of applying this law, it [the victory] is significant for the IDC and for Israel as well.”
Richemond-Barak said that this year’s competition included scenarios inspired by the recent events in Libya, Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world, and questions dealing with matters of special importance to Israel, including what kind of law applies in areas like the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Regardless of the issues that were discussed at the competition, Richemond- Barak is sure that the victory bodes well for Israeli students and the state as a whole.
“The battlefield is changing and the law is not necessarily changing. The success two years in a row in such a prestigious competition in this field carries great significance.”