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ICRC advocates teaching of International Humanitarian Law in varsities



The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has called for the teaching of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in

universities “to help generate respect and understanding during armed conflict.”

Sybil Sagay, Legal Adviser of ICRC, Abuja, made the call during the 9th International Humanitarian Law Moot Court Competition in

collaboration with Baze University, Abuja, on Wednesday.

Sagay said universities play crucial roles in ensuring that IHL and other relevant laws were taught to future leaders, arm carriers, magistrates

and lawyers, as well as humanitarian professionals.

She explained that today’s armed conflicts and other violence took heavy toll on civilians, detainees, the wounded, medical staff and essential infrastructure.

She, however, said that “IHL establishes limits on what is permitted in such situations as it further helps to generate respect for the body of law and

enhance people’s understanding of armed conflict.

“For promotion of IHL, future decision makers should have an in-depth knowledge of IHL, not just theory but practical to enable them to propagate

the law among students of the profession and communities.

“Academics also make essential contributions to the legal and humanitarian debate, helping to shape laws and policies that comply with IHL.”

The study of IHL would also help governments to tackle humanitarian and security issues, in line with existing legal framework and

humanitarian policies and raise awareness among Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) through media and public conferences.

The legal adviser said that the National and International Moot Court competition started nine years ago, organised and sponsored by the ICRC

to promote IHL in Nigeria.

Sagay said that this year, three participants from 10 universities, including Bayero University Kano, Baze University, Abuja, University of Maiduguri,

University of Benin, Rivers State University, would take part in the competition.

She added that the winner of the competition would be sponsored to Arusha in Tanzania for the regional completion, and a complete IHL library with

over 100 books would be given to the university.

She added that ICRC had so far trained and sponsored 53 students and 48 lecturers from Nigeria on advanced courses in IHL at Harvard, Geneva and Arusha, Tanzania.

Sechie Philip, an indigene of Akwa Ibom from University of Benin, said he represented Nigeria in 2015 at Arusha and emerged the National Champion

in the IHL completion.

Philip acknowledged the importance of the competition, which he said played a major role in his carrier as an international humanitarian lawyer.

He said that the competition helped to redefine his knowledge and skills on IHL, and urged universities to lead the research in new topics on

humanitarian issues, propose new ideas and solutions to address them. (NAN)


Edited by Folasade Adeniran/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu