Last week, law students from Kigali Independent University (ULK) were named the winners of the fifth national moot court competition on International Humanitarian Law (IHL), after defeating the University of Rwanda law students. The competition which is organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation in Rwanda in collaboration with the Rwanda Red Cross Society and the schools of law of the University of Rwanda (UR), Université Libre de Kigali (ULK), University of Lay Adventists of Kigali (UNILAK), INES-Ruhengeli and University of Kigali (UoK) was held between October 14 and 15 under the theme of “IHL and protection of Cultural Property in the event of armed conflict” Each of the five universities was represented by a team of two students who were selected based on a competitive basis. A moot is an extracurricular activity in which law students take part in simulated court or arbitration proceedings. The format of the competition was a simulated war crimes trial, where each team took turns playing the roles of the prosecution and the defence before a panel of judges. The competition saw ULK, represented by Samuel Ngoga and Denise Isimbi emerge winners, and in addition to the awards they received, they will represent Rwanda at a continental contest in Kenya. Emmanuel Nkundukozera, a Lecturer from the School of Law at ULK, said that the competition helps the students to feel the mood of the real court before they graduate and join the field. “This is a profession of practice. This competition helps them to practice what they are learning at school, and the fact that they meet with other students from different universities is an added value because they learn from each other,” he said. One of the participants from INES Ruhengeri, Guillaine Irahoza, said that despite not making it to the finals, “I learned a lot from this competition. I came to understand more about civilian protection, international armed conflicts, and also I got to learn a lot about cultural property protection, which is mainly what this competition was about. I have also been able to hear from different people who made it in the legal field.” Aime Karimunda Muyoboke, the Judge of the Supreme Court of Rwanda at Judiciary, who represented the Chief Justice during the closing ceremony, commended the organizers of the competition, saying that the process of moot court leaves lessons to everyone who was involved in it. “Some of the judges here present were students practising moot pleadings yesterday but today they are dealing with real cases with similar magnitude. This means that all efforts and investments are not for drama, they are part of ICRC commitment to building better leaders for a better future for all of us,” he said “Our responsibility is to give you the maximum exposure with the hope that your spirit will remain constantly armed with the willingness to play the role in bettering the world,” he added, addressing the students. The winning team will be fully sponsored by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to represent Rwanda in the All-Africa IHL Moot Court Competition to be held in Nairobi, Kenya. It brings together the winning teams from across the continent.