International competition beckons law students

By Ewan McDonald

Auckland University law students will travel to Hong Kong next week to represent New Zealand at an international law competition.

Anna Devathasan and Gretta Schumacher will compete with 20 teams from around the Asia-Pacific in the Red Cross IHL Moot Competition. They'll be accompanied by their coach Ben Prewett and researcher Sara Chin.

The Auckland team won the right to represent New Zealand at the first national competition in November, where teams from Auckland, Canterbury, Otago, Victoria and Waikato universities made their case on international legal issues.

International humanitarian law, sometimes known as the laws of wars, protects people who are not taking part in fighting - for example civilians, wounded soldiers and prisoners of war. It also restricts choice of weapons and how they can be used. The best-known of these laws are the Geneva Conventions.

The competition presented students with a complex scenario involving various legal issues, including the use of nuclear weapons, command chain responsibility and excessive force against civilians.

The Auckland team narrowly defeated Otago in a final at the historic Old High Court building, in front of a judging panel that included Supreme Court Justice Susan Glazebrook, Swiss Ambassador Dr Marion Weichelt Krupski, Law Commissioner and former Minister of Defence Dr Wayne Mapp, and Chief Legal Advisor at NZDF Joint Forces, Commander Chris Griggs. Both teams were praised for their persuasive and well-structured arguments.

The trip is jointly funded by New Zealand Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross. The competition will take place in Hong Kong on 14-16 March.

- The Aucklander

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