From left to right: Supakorn Wilartratsami, Nathat Chongcharoenpanich, Weeris Atichatpongsuk
Hello everyone! We are the team that represented Thammasat University in the 36th Edition of the Jean-Pictet competition in Durrës, Albania between 4-11 December 2021. Our team consisted of Supakorn Wilartratsami, Weeris Atichatpongsuk, and Nathat Chongcharoenpanich.
Jean-Pictet Competition is a unique competition in international humanitarian law which aims to ‘sortir le droit des livres’, or in English, to ‘take the laws out of the book’. Unlike Moot Court competitions, the Jean-Pictet puts students in a series of distinct simulated situations which are not limited to situations within a courtroom throughout a week. Students may be required to act as UN Delegates, military advisors, or even representatives of the ICRC negotiating with non-state armed groups. The jury (the group of people who will be assessing each team) will also act during the simulation as well and they will grade each team based on the interactions between the represented roles. Even more interestingly, Jean-Pictet the script of simulations are prepared on-the-go throughout the week as the competition progresses. Thus, there is a high degree of uncertainty and also of excitement for both the teams and jury members.
Teams are also assigned tutors who will give them feedbacks, helpful advice, and devise strategies after each round of the simulation. The encouragement we gained from our tutor was immensely vial to our improvement as the competition progressed. By the end of the competition, we feel like we have taken a whole semester course of international humanitarian law.
The multi-cultural aspect and the friendly environment within the ‘competition’ is another facet which makes the Jean-Pictet special. Each edition of the competition may either be conducted in English or in French, the two main languages within the international humanitarian law field; as for our edition, it was conducted in English. In this edition, there were teams from myriad countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America. The Jean-Pictet encourages the participants to bond and make invaluable once-in-a-lifetime friendships during the time the simulations are not taking place. This aspect to emphasize cooperation and a friendly atmosphere indicates that the Jean-Pictet is staying true to its humanitarian spirit.
All in all, participating in the Jean-Pictet was an unforgettable experience. Apart from getting the chance to learn about humanitarian law in an intense and hands-on environment, we got the chance to form lasting friendships while also being instilled with the spirit of international humanitarian law. We are sure that this experience will forever be a part of our lives.
Finally we would like to thank all of those who made our participation possible. Without them, our long-awaited journey (during the COVID pandemic) would never have been possible. We would like to thank Ajarns and seniors who have always been supportive and gave us good advice. We would also like to express our most sincere gratitude to the ICRC Bangkok delegate for not only financially sponsoring us to attend the competition, but also for the facilitation and for giving us crucial IHL training beforehand. The Faculty of Law and the office of International LL.b. program and all of our lecturers could not be thanked enough as well since they were the ones who made it possible for us to rearrange some of our exam schedules to accommodate the timing of the competition. Our gratitude also belongs to the Committee for the Jean-Pictet Competition, the jury members, the tutors, the organization staffs, and other participants. The hard work and patience of everyone involved were incomprehensibly crucial to our participation in Jean-Pictet.
“I believe that Jean-Pictet is the first international competition that a team from our faculty could participate onsite since the start of the pandemic and I am extremely grateful for this opportunity. Jean-Pictet makes me feel a lot more knowledgeable on the area of international humanitarian law and it also causes me to learn about it more as well! The values and the importance of international humanitarian law seems to be understated to the general public. I personally believe that raising awareness on IHL and working in IHL will be a task which can create a lot of good to our world. Maybe someday in the distant future I will work in this field.” Supakorn Wilartratsami.
“Jean-Pictet competition gave me an opportunity that I would not find anywhere among other academic related activities. Not only we became more acquainted with international humanitarian law knowledge, but also how it works in reality. With simulated situations and role-playing, it makes the event fascinating and gives more chances to be familiarized with other participants, thus giving a refreshing atmosphere than intense competitive ambience. The competition has successfully enlightened the international humanitarian law and reality aspect in the way that traditional teaching cannot. I can see myself occupying the humanitarian field as a career choice in the future.”
— Weeris Atichatpongsuk.
“Jean-Pictet competition from my perspective is the place where many people around the globe compete with each other in the area of international humanitarian law. Nonetheless, that is merely part of the competition. In reality, it is also the place where all of the competitors could make bonds and share their thoughts. We got to know many teams with different legal works/studies such as lawyers, master degrees, and students from Geneva Academy. Even though during the competition it is truly tough for us since we actually did not have much time to prepare for the competition because of the conflict with the final exam period, I think our team genuinely grew up a lot. On the day of the mocking competition, I did not feel so good that it was not my best yet and I was truly disappointed with my performance . I become more confident to communicate and express my opinion towards legal conundrum in every session everyday. The essence to endure in this competition is teamwork and we did it really well. Moreover, what I have gained from Pictet is how ICRC officers exercise the law in the real situation through their humanitarian operation. The understanding of law is not sufficient, but we need to know our position and negotiation skills in the context of settlement. Lastly, I could not make it without my team. Thanks to my teammate, Pictet coach(Carson Thomas) and those who support us throughout the whole process. My motto would be “there is nothing perseverance cannot win”
Comment from the tutor
“The team adapted quickly to the unique format of the Competition and began to incorporate more role-playing aspects as the week progressed. They also learned how to improvise when the simulation did not go as planned. In one simulation, they were assigned the role of humanitarian delegates to a non-state armed group. When the leader of that group demanded that they present their request for humanitarian access in a song, one of the team members quite effectively communicated their position through a humanitarian rap. This ability to improvise and “think on your feet” is an important skill and a major aspect of the Competition, and the team showed strong improvement. Their oral advocacy skills also improved during the week, and they should continue to focus on clear, confident presentations and responses.”
Comment for the jury
“The team exhibited outstanding respect towards other teams and jury. They were extremely collegial and cordial to all the participants. They were keen to learn and understand different cultures and traditions. Their energy and enthusiasm transmitted to other teams. Their teamwork was excellent and dynamic. The members of the team were calm, professional speakers. This added to the effect of their presentations. They were always ready to assist and contribute to each other. They supported and motivated one another.”
Photo by : Ajarn Thitirat Thipsamritkul
Edited by : KK