Bond University law students Lara Sveinsson and Marty Campbell have won the 15th Red Cross International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Moot in Hong Kong, out-arguing more than 24 teams from the Asia-Pacific region.
Lara and Marty qualified for the international competition after winning the national moot run by the Australian Red Cross and the Australian Law Students’ Association. It was the first time Bond University had entered a team in the IHL Moot.
“International humanitarian law governs the conduct of armed conflicts, so it is a very topical area of international law that is highly relevant to major events happening around the world right now,” said Bond Law Professor Jonathan Crowe who coached Lara and Marty to their national and international victories.
“The IHL Moot provides an opportunity for law students from a wide range of different countries to reflect on the practice and reality of humanitarianism during wars and conflict, including the important role played by organisations like the Red Cross.”
The talented Bondies faced university teams from countries as diverse as Iran, New Zealand, Mongolia, China and Nepal; arguing their case in front of International Red Cross legal advisors, barristers and judges from all over the world.
The final round of the four-day competition was held in Hong Kong’s High Court, before a bench of five judges that included judges from the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal and a former judge of the International Court of Justice.
“Speaking in front of such a distinguished panel of international experts was definitely a nerve-wracking experience,” said Lara, who is studying a dual degree in Law and Arts, majoring in International Relations and French.
“We really had to focus on just answering each question as it came and making sure we approached the competition as a great opportunity.”
In addition to the mooting rounds and finals, the IHL Moot program included a range of social events, networking opportunities and professional development sessions, as well as guest speakers, negotiation competitions and seminars.
“We were so lucky to meet students from all over the world, teaming up with them for challenging negotiations and role plays reflecting everyday situations that Red Cross staff experience in the aftermath of armed conflict,” said Law and International Relations student, Marty.
“I was also inspired by the various Regional Legal Advisors to the Red Cross who were present throughout the competition; many of whom had prosecuted cases at major hearings such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.”
As the IHL Moot champions, Lara and Marty have been awarded a joint scholarship valued at $USD2000 which they will use to travel to Geneva to undertake an IHL-related program at the International Committee of the Red Cross headquarters.
“Marty and I are both interested in careers in international law and humanitarian issues so the Moot was an incredible opportunity for us to get some insight into the life of legal professionals working in that field, who were all incredibly generous in sharing their time and experiences with us,” said Lara.