Pleadings on the South Ossetia Conflict Take Place at Villa Moynier

The one-week long conflict over South Ossetia in August 2008 left lives, homes, and communities devastated and gave rise to numerous allegations of violations of international humanitarian law (IHL). In January 2016, the International Criminal Court authorized the opening of a formal investigation by the Office of the Prosecutor into the situation. On 21 January 2021, the European Court of Human Rights rendered a controversial judgment on human rights violations committed by Russia in this conflict.

In the framework of our LLM in IHL and Human Rights and the course on IHL given by Professor Marco Sassòli, students pleaded on 15 May for Russia and Georgia arguing that the side they represent has respected IHL while the adverse side has violated IHL.

In front of a jury composed of Professor Marco Sassòli and Lizaveta Tarasevich, an alumna of the Geneva Academy and Teaching Assistant at the University of Geneva, teams of two students (whose roles were attributed by the lot) pleaded on:

  • The classification of the conflict and applicable law
  • Classification of persons and territory
  • Killing and destruction of property of ethnic Georgians and allegations of ethnic cleansing
  • The use of weapons and precautionary measures during ground and air offensives
  • The targeting of persons
  • The treatment of detainees
  • A fictious appeal against the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights on the case Georgia v. Russia.

Twenty-two students pleaded in English, four others in French.

From Ethiopia to Geneva

All students – with the exception of one who pleaded online from Ethiopia – could plead at Villa Moynier in front of the jury. When they did not plead, they could follow their comrades’ pleadings online in order to respect the sanitary measures enacted by the Swiss authorities.

LLM students who participated in the pleading on the 2014 Gaza conflict four weeks ago could also follow this session on South Ossetia online.

Professor Sassòli reports: ‘The students pleaded on a conflict, which is less well-known than that in Gaza, on which their comrades pleaded in April. They had nevertheless an admirable knowledge of the facts and delivered pleadings, which were powerful and engaged on the substance, but in a polite and not overly confrontational manner. Several groups obtained the best possible grades, including when they performed less successfully in past written evaluations. The fact that one student pleaded very successfully while her family home is under intense bombardment in Gaza deserves a special mention’.

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

The 2021 Pictet Team in front of the Geneva Lake News

Introducing our 2021 Pictet Team

8 February 2021

Tamara Aburamadan, Stephanie Mutasa and Mina Radoncic – enrolled in our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights – will represent the Geneva Academy at the 2021 Edition of the Jean-Pictet Competition.

Read more

Short Course

The Law of Non-International Armed Conflicts

17 March - 8 April 2022

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, discusses the protection offered by international humanitarian law (IHL) in non-international armed conflicts (NIACs) and addresses some problems and controversies specific to IHL of NIACs, including the difficulty to ensure the respect of IHL by armed non-state actors.

Read more

Ukraine, damaged bicycle and car in front of a destroyed building Short Course

Protection of Persons and Property in International Armed Conflict

10 November - 23 December 2021

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, examines the conduct of hostilities in situations of international armed conflict, also known as the Law of The Hague.

Read more

Screen Shot of Obsolete, a game made for the 7DFPS project in 7 days. Download for PC and Mac Project

Disruptive Military Technologies

Started in February 2020

Via a new lecture series on disruptive military technologies, this project aims at staying abreast of the various military technology trends; promoting legal and policy debate on new military technologies; and furthering the understanding of the convergent effects of different technological trends shaping the digital battlefield of the future.

Read more

Séléka rebels patrol in the town of Bria, Central African Republic (CAR). Project

Human Rights Responsibilities and Armed Non-State Actors

Completed in June 2018

This research aims at building a common understanding and vision as to how states and the relevant parts of the UN system can provide a concrete and practical framework to address human rights responsibilities of armed non-state actors.

Read more

Cover page of the book Publication

War

published on July 2021

Andrew Clapham

Read more

cover of the publication Publication

Military Briefing: Persons with Disabilities and Armed Conflict

published on March 2021

Alice Priddy

Read more