It was an exciting finish to the 22nd edition of the Henry Dunant Memorial Moot Court Competition on 25 September 2023, with the Lloyd Law College, Greater Noida, emerging as the winner, while Dr Ambedkar Law University, School of Excellence in Law, Chennai, was a close second.

A total of 48 teams from all over India competed over three days for the prestigious title. The winning team will now advance to the Asia-Pacific rounds of the competition, to be held in Hong Kong in the spring of 2024.  This year, more than 40 experts from government agencies, international organizations and academic circles judged the rounds.

On 21 September 2023, The Indian Society of International Law (ISIL) and the ICRC opened the National Rounds of the 21st Henry Dunant Memorial Moot Court Competition on International Humanitarian Law (IHL). Mr Kedir Awol Omar, Head of the Regional Delegation for India, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives, inaugurated the Competition along with Hon’ble Justice Pankaj Mithal, Judge, Supreme Court of India and Narinder Singh, Secretary-General, ISIL. During his opening remarks, Mr. Omar emphasized that through the Moot Court competition, together with the ISIL, the ICRC has sought to raise awareness on the subject of IHL among academics and the society at large, and it has also allowed law students to have a practical understanding of the application and enforcement of IHL.

During his inaugural address, Hon’ble Justice Pankaj Mithal, Judge, Supreme Court of India, said, “competitions and platforms like these enrich competitive discussions help build narrative and develop jurisprudence not only in India but around the world.”

The next three days witnessed the finest mooting skills on display from all the teams gathered based on rigorous legal research and advocacy on IHL.

During the valedictory session, Hon’ble Justice Madan B. Lokur, Judge of the Supreme Court of Fiji and former Judge of the Supreme Court of India, commended students for their hard work and perseverance during the Competition. He emphasized that participating in the Competition was commendable, regardless of the outcome. “Participating in itself is a learning process. You have gained a lot and more importantly, the country has also gained a lot because there has been so much knowledge and a wealth of information that has come out because you participated in this Competition.”

Harshita Raj, Tushar Hazrati, Tanya Jain and Astha Singh from Lloyd Law College, Greater Noida, made up the winning team and were visibly excited about the next step, the Asia Pacific rounds in Hong Kong. The runners-up, Dr. Ambedkar Law University, Chennai, team consisted of HN Shree Harini, S Nishasri and Susmithaa Shri. They said competing allowed them to enhance their career prospects and discuss international humanitarian law.

“It was a very overwhelming experience. We were so excited to know that we had won the Competition and will be going to Hong Kong for the regional rounds,” said Tanya Jain, from Lloyd Law College.

Christ (Deemed to be University), Delhi NCR represented by Akshaya Puttur Kamath, Meghna Singh Gahlot and Amogh Pandey bagged the best memorial award. The Army Institute of Law, Mohali’s Asmi Sharma was adjudged the best researcher, and  Marwadi University, Rajkot’s Godwin Goodhead Akpan received the prize for best advocate.

Dr. Vinai Kumar Singh, Deputy Director and Senior Assistant Professor, Indian Society of International Law (ISIL), discussed how the ISIL and ICRC have been working together over the years to organize the Moot Court Competition and increase IHL awareness.

In his remarks, Mr Pravin H Parekh, President of ISIL, congratulated participants for their high level of Competition. On behalf of the ICRC, Manish Das, Deputy Head of the Regional Delegation for India, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives, reaffirmed the importance of strengthening the collaborative partnership of over two decades between the ISIL and the ICRC during his closing remarks. Talking about the spirit of the Competition and how it has evolved over the years, he said, “I want to thank all the teams for your hard work and dedication. The quality of your memorials and presentations, as well as your impressive advocacy skills, have demonstrated and contributed to the high standard of the Competition and the reputation it enjoys.”

The moot court competition is organized annually by the ICRC in partnership with ISIL for law students and aims to stimulate their engagement with relevant and contemporary issues in IHL. As participants are required to examine, formulate and present arguments from both sides throughout the competition – starting right from the preliminary rounds, up to final rounds, depth of substantive engagement is encouraged and finesse is nurtured, with the guidance and feedback of judges who are experienced professionals and senior academics in the field of IL and IHL.

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