Selection questions – Pictet 2012

Question 1 Following increasing human rights violations committed by the security forces of the state of Chado under the ruling of President Mu Rabar against the ethnic Wala population over the summer of 2011, a coalition of three countries (Dawnland, Lightos and Rayno) intervened on 1 September 2011 to put an end to the atrocities. Due to the inability of the United Nations Security Council to adopt adequate measures, those three states launched a military operation that resulted in the overthrow of Mu Rabar. The combat operations only lasted one week and the coalition of three states deployed a total of 75,000 soldiers on the ground that took control of the main cities, including the capital Cloudak. The coalition established a provisional authority composed of top military officials of the three intervening states, in charge of managing the country before elections take place. However, insurgents belonging to former state security forces of Chado began guerrilla-type attacks against the coalition forces. The insurgents also succeeded in controlling two provinces in the north of the country. The neighbouring state of Auverchado is reportedly providing weapons and financial support to the insurgents as well as information on the itineraries of coalition armoured vehicle convoys. In addition, ethnic Wala community leaders created local defence groups (LDG) to protect villages from the regular attacks conducted by the insurgents. LDG receive light weapons and ammunition from the coalition forces, which are also paying 100 USD to each member of the LDG. Several clashes took place between insurgents and LDG members. The situation on the ground is proving to be very difficult for the coalition forces. The Dawnland army, patrolling in Cloudak and maintaining order in the absence of Chado police who joined the insurgency, faces various challenges. Dawnland forces arrested dozens of insurgents and set up detention centres in the former presidential palace in the capital. They have so far refused ICRC access to the detainees. Recent clashes also took place between coalition forces and inhabitants of the southern suburb of Cloudak, traditionally supportive of the former President’s ruling party. During demonstrations last week, two demonstrators died after Dawnland soldiers opened fire with live ammunition. A Dawnland commander claimed that insurgents mingled with the demonstrators and provided weapons to some inhabitants of the southern suburb. Dawnland forces arrested 30 demonstrators carrying knives. Coalition forces also face constant threats of attack at checkpoints in urban areas. Insurgents wear plain civilian clothes when conducting attacks and they receive the help of some inhabitants. Two days ago, Dawnland forces in Cloudak killed a man driving a truck heading north with ammunition that was allegedly dispatched to support insurgents. They also killed two civilians during searches of their homes. Those two civilians were allegedly providing information to insurgents about a Dawnland military base. Five civilians were also killed when they failed to stop their cars at a checkpoint manned by Dawnland soldiers after warning fire. You are legal advisers of the Dawnland Ministry of Defence. Recent media reports claimed that Dawnland forces are committing war crimes and gross human rights violations in Chado. You have been tasked with drafting a legal memorandum of no more than 1500 words (including footnotes) to provide accurate legal arguments to respond to such claims and justify Dawnland conduct. You are mindful of the fact that the international humanitarian law framework is less protective than human rights law and that it gives more leeway to soldiers. On the other hand, you are aware that human rights standards cannot be completely disregarded.

NB. All states are parties to the core IHL and human rights treaties. ***
Question 2 Explain in no more than 500 words how you expect your participation as a team in the Jean-Pictet Competition will impact your future professional life.

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