18 February 2020
Chiemelie Michael Agu is enrolled in our LLM in International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Human Rights.
From 7 to 14 March, he will travel to Bali, Indonesia to represent the Geneva Academy at the Anglophone Edition of the 2020 Jean-Pictet Competition – along with Melina Fidelis Tzourou and Yulia Mogutova.
The Jean-Pictet Competition is a leading IHL competition and one of the most innovative training programmes for students in public international law. This week-long event tests students on their knowledge of and ability to implement IHL, as well as other branches of international law, through role-playing exercises based on a hypothetical armed conflict scenario.
I come from Nigeria where I had my law degree from the University of Abuja Law Faculty and was called to the Nigerian bar in 2018.
Before joining the Geneva Academy, I was working at the Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Centre (HRCRC) in Ebonyi State, South-East region of Nigeria, where I was involved in marital mediation, trade and land dispute resolutions. I have also interned at the Open Society Justice Initiative in Abuja.
I became formally aware of IHL and human rights whilst preparing for a national moot competition on these issues during my third undergraduate year; I’ve since participated in other national and international competitions on IHL and human rights and focused on the subject in my undergraduate dissertation. Studying these fields at the postgraduate level was, therefore, a logical career progression decision for me.
I had always been interested in participating in the Jean-Pictet competition and mentioned this interest in my application to the Geneva Academy. The objective of the competition – to take the law out of the books – is one that I am passionate about especially as it relates to developing countries and particularly to engage with groups and communities that are hard to reach.
The selection process involved individual submissions (response to a hypothetical case study, resume and motivation letter) and a simulation exercise. Every step was rigorous and inclusive. It was such a relief to know my efforts paid off and a rush of excitement afterwards at the thought of representing Geneva Academy!
Managing team dynamics and time for coaching sessions, readings and simulations with previous participants (alongside other school engagements) were a bit challenging! However, understanding the team dynamics was crucial in building team spirit and purpose – something that many former participants highlighted as critical for success. George Dvaladze’s contribution as a coach was immense.
Working to set a deadline for submission as a team and ensuring that team members agreed every stage of the preparation was challenging given the diversity of thoughts, but equally rewarding.
Interesting but funny remarks by Professor Marco Sassòli during the simulation exercise – about what his grandmother told him.
The updated Commentary on the Third Geneva Convention will bewill be launched online on 16 June where an expert panel, including our Director Professor Marco Sassòli, will discuss the Commentary's main findings and will examine how international humanitarian law protects prisoners of war.
Resulting from traditional legal research and informal interviews with experts, the project aims at examining how – if at all possible – IHL could be more systematically, appropriately and correctly dealt with by the human rights mechanisms emanating from the Charter of the United Nations, as well from universal and regional treaties.
This project, initiated in 2014 by the Swiss Chair of International Humanitarian Law, Professor Noam Lubell, intends to identify, via expert meetings and research, a set of best practices that states should apply when they investigate or examine alleged violations or misconduct in situations of armed conflict.