Sophomore students Yae-Rin Yoo, Joo-Young Kim, and Jong-Hyeon Kim, from the School of Law of Handong Global University (President Soon-Heung Chang), received first prize at the 9th International Humanitarian Mock Trial Contest held at the Graduate School of Law of Seoul National University September 23rd. In addition, Yae-Rin Yoo received ‘best statement’ award, in which statements are submitted in advance and reviewed comprehensively.
For this year’s final competition, three teams competing as attorneys and lawyers, applied international humanitarian law to a simulated trial involving dispatched armed forces. Particularly in the context of non-international armed conflict, discussions were held on the legitimacy of direct attacks against civilians in self-defense, the jurisdiction and criminal punishment of rape in military units, and the feasibility of forced migration of civilians.
The team from Handong Global University, who represented the side of attorney during the final, insisted that the relationship between a commander’s orders and war crimes is ambiguous, and that the commander should be held accountable for negligence, even for crimes committed indirectly. In addition, the team was successful in arguing that in the absence of a precedent in an establishing jurisdiction over crimes such as rape in military units, the basic guarantee of international humanitarian law should be applied not only to civilians, but also to active service personnel.
Team member Joo-Young Kim stated, “Despite the difficulties during preparation, I was able to have a truly valuable experience, thanks to my team members and supporters around me. All of this was possible because of the grace and guidance of God. I expect that international humanitarian law will continue to develop better in our society through the law students of our generation.” “Also,” he added, “I would like to thank Sang-Chan Lee (Sophomore, Graduate School of International Law, Handong Global University) for giving us much support as our student coach.”
This competition is jointly hosted by the Korean Red Cross, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the Public Law of Human Rights Center of Seoul National University, and is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of Justice. The first prize winner will represent Korea during the ‘16th International Humanitarian Law Mock Trials of Asia and Pacific’ to be held in Hong Kong, March 2018.
Their professor and coach, John T. Shin, a professor of School of Law, noted, “Winning this tournament is a great blessing, but sometimes it can lead to disastrous results from, for example, becoming too proud of success. I pray that this international humanitarian team will continue to always put God first in everything [they do] and be humble in both victory and defeat.”