The National Students’ Conference on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) got bigger with its 2015 edition drawing 46 students representing 14 universities from eight Indian states. The conference was held in Ahmedabad on 20th February.
With increasing complexities in the nature of armed conflicts, the challenges to uphold humanitarian principles have also grown manifold in recent times, thereby making awareness and application of IHL even more important. In light of this, the conference enabled the students to gain insights into the emerging issues and trends in the field of IHL.
Into its fourth year, the conference – organized by the Institute of Law, Nirma University, Ahmedabad, in collaboration with the ICRC, Regional Delegation, New Delhi – had interesting research papers covering a wide spectrum of issues such as privatization of armed conflict, meta-analysis of the humanitarian approach to nuclear disarmament, IHL and non-state actors, accountability of war crimes, among others. The students presented their research papers in four technical sessions and the Best Paper was awarded in each of the sessions.
As the conference progressed, ICRC New Delhi blog also used other social media tools – through Twitter and Facebook – to flag off its proceedings for the wider network of IHL academia and practitioners. In order to generate greater awareness about the objectives of the conference, a film was also shot on mobile phone in collaboration with students of the Institute of Law, Nirma University.
Explaining the idea behind the conference, Dr. Anuradha Saibaba, Legal Adviser, ICRC, said, “The aim is to encourage law students and young scholars to learn and carry out research in this crucial area of law. It also enables them to play an active part in the dissemination of IHL principles. An increased participation from both undergraduate and postgraduate students is a testimony of the growing interest of the students in IHL – a trend that is quite encouraging for the practitioners.”
To dwell deeper into the impact such a platform has on students and their understanding of the subject, ICRC New Delhi blog spoke to the winners.
Here is what they had to say:
This was definitely a huge learning experience for me, especially in terms of the feedback of the distinguished panelists on how I could improve my paper and also concerning the papers I plan to write in future.
Sharan Balakrishna, Gujarat National Law University
What makes you interested in this subject/topic?
Coming from Bangladesh, I wanted to gain expertise in International Humanitarian Law from the early days of my masters in international law. Bangladesh, India and Pakistan – especially South Asian countries – are contributing to peacekeeping operations from the beginning and this got me interested to study and explore this topic.
Asrafuzzaman Babu, South Asian University
During the course of my interaction with students at the conference, I not only came across some interesting opinions and views on the subject that I hadn’t really thought about earlier, but I was also able to look into new age topics about which I had no prior knowledge.
Rithika Vidyut Shenoy, Gujarat National Law University
A lot of value addition takes place through a conference such as this one. Firstly, it helps us develop an understanding of the issue and improves our research skills. Secondly, it offers a platform to discuss and exchange ideas with not only our counterparts in other universities but also experts in this field.
Priya Das, Gujarat National Law University