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Faculty of Law


Jean Pictet is a competition that enables graduate students to become better acquainted with International Humanitarian Law (IHL), using simulated events and role playing based on fictitious situation of armed conflict. Teams are expected to pit their legal knowledge against each other and test their ability to find solutions to problems in three phases: the qualifying heats, semi-finals and finals. Jean Pictet is different from other international law competitions, because like humanitarian law, it does not deal mainly with legal disputes or judicial matters, but with practice and indeed real life situations.

IHL traditionally forms part of the general Public International Law course offered in the LLB curriculum at various universities. IHL was offered for the first time as a stand-alone elective at Nelson Mandela University in 2006. It continues to be an elective within the Nelson Mandela University LLB curriculum. Mr Abrahams, who teaches the module, enhanced his own knowledge in 2006-2007 by studying towards an LLM in IHL and Human Rights Law at the University of Geneva in Switzerland - the birthplace and custodian country of IHL.

The team’s journey to Jean Pictet began months ago with communication to individuals of the opportunity to apply. Following that were months of emails from our coach Mr Abrahams with vast amounts of information in anticipation for the application process which only opened in September 2017. In October 2017, one of the team members had the opportunity to participate in the All Africa Course on IHL hosted by the ICRC Regional Delegation in Pretoria. Her participation contributed to the team’s IHL proficiency and valuable insight on how to approach the application process was gained.

The application process was a gruelling experience. Staying true to the objective of the competition, it was a test of the team’s ability to concisely display in-depth and practical IHL knowledge. On the 30th November, our team was informed of their successful application to the 30th edition of Jean Pictet to be held in March 2018 in Ohrid. Seventy Anglophone teams applied and thirty two were selected after a two phase process. Our institution has previously participated twice- in Serbia and Montenegro, 2006 and France, 2011. We look forward to flying the Nelson Mandela University flag high! Our sincere gratitude to the ICRC Pretoria delegation who will be sponsor.