A Batch of 90 Students from East and Central Africa Training on Armed Conflicts and Human Rights Laws
8-14 December 2019, the 7th edition of the Great Lakes Regional Training Program in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights took place in Kigali, Rwanda. This was organized by Initiatives for Peace and Human Rights (iPeace) in partnership with its Geneva-based partner the Comité pour le Concours Grands Lacs (CCGL) under umbrella theme : “The protection of victims of crimes committed during armed conflict period in the Great Lakes Region : Stakes, Challenges and Opportunities.”
A total of 91 students and lecturers from 28 universities (6 from Burundi, 7 from DR Congo, 5 from Kenya, 3 from Rwanda, 4 from Tanzania, and 3 from Uganda) were empowered with knowledge and skills in IHL and HR. Each university was represented by 2 students and one lecturer.
As in each previous edition, the training program was both theoretical and practical. The theoretical part started with the International Conference on the 70 years of the Geneva Convention in Africa and the 10th anniversary of the Kampala Convention. Held at Kigali Marriott Hotel on December 9, 2019, it was attended by 160 participants including delegates from 28 universities, experts and other guests. The question at the center of this conference was: "What complementarity between international humanitarian law, human rights and refugee law? "
To answer this question, experts from various backgrounds, each with enriching personal experience, made ample presentations which enhanced participants’ knowledge in IHL and HR. Among these presentations, it is worth mentioning: ‘New Types of Conflicts and Conflict Classification’ by Dr. Jérôme de Hemptinne (University of Geneva in Switzerland), ‘Complementarity between IHL and HR with regard to the use of force in Non International Armed Conflicts’ by Dr. Antoine Kaboré (Burkina Faso Bar Association), ‘The protection of indigenous peoples’ rights in Africa’ by Dr StefaanSmis (Vrije Universiteit Brussels in Belgium), and ‘The protection of people living with disabilities in armed conflict’ by Dr John Wamwara (Moi Université in Kenya).
After the conference of December 9 which officially launched the 7th edition of the Great Lakes Regional Training Program in IHL and HR, the next two days, from 10 to 11, were devoted to workshops for the theoretical component and to advisory panel and the first two rounds of Moot Court Competition for the practical component.
During these two days, richfull topics were discussed to enrich the knowledge of the participants. Among these topics, some were discussed exclusively for coachs, especially two methodological seminars on the "Teaching of International Criminal Law" and "Teaching of International Human Rights Law".
These methodological seminars aimed to update those who teach International Criminal Law and International Human Rights Law in each reprsented university.
As for the practical part, the teams carried out research for three months to understand all the contours of the problem posed in the practical case, entertaining a troubled and conflicting situation in the imaginary state of BENKADI. It all started with electoral disputes that degenerated into an armed rebellion, which was bloodily repressed by the govern-mental army leading to thousands of civilian casualties.
Students participated in the pleading competition which began with an advisory panel before experts. For the moot court competition, participants were split into two circuits, Anglophone and Francophone. Congolese and Burundian universities formed the French-speaking circuit while those from Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya formed the English-speaking circuit.
At the end of the preliminary rounds, the University of Kisangani and the University of Lubumbashi (all from DRC) qualified for the Grand Final in the Francophone circuit, while Makerere University (Kampala, Uganda) and Catholic University of Eastern Africa (Nairobi, Kenya) made it to the final of the Anglophone circuit.
In the courtroom of the Supreme Court of Rwanda, the English-speaking and the French-speaking finalists pleaded in turn before a jury made up of experts from universities and partner organizations of iPeace based in Belgium, Burkina Faso, Canada , in DR Congo, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Rwanda, and Switzerland. The University of Lubumbashi won the francophone circuit and Catholic University of Eastern Africa the Anglophone circuit.
In addition to the team trophies and individual prizes awarded to the best according to the categories, all participating universities each received a large batch of works on international law intended to strengthen their respective libraries. In total, 255 books were distributed to participants.
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