15 June 2011

Students from Brisbane State High School were presented with prizes donated by UQ's TC Beirne School of Law at the International Humanitarian Law Paper Presentation Competition held at the Federal Court of Australia recently.

Justice Berna Collier and Justice John Logan of the Federal Court and Federal Magistrate Michael Burnett presided over a hard-fought final between Brisbane State High School and St John's Anglican College on May 31. The finalists were asked to answer a difficult hypothetical involving armed conflict in the Gaza Strip.

The annual Red Cross competition is designed to encourage secondary students to develop a better understanding of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), which seeks to limit the effects of armed conflict.

IHL aims to protect persons who are not, or are no longer, participating in hostilities; restricts the means and methods of warfare; and provides the legal basis for assistance and protection carried out by organisations such as the Red Cross.

To take part in the competition student teams must submit a written, audio or audio-visual response to a question about the protection of civilians in armed conflict.

Three teams were selected to present their responses to a judging panel and answer questions on their presentations.

Senior Lecturer in the TC Beirne School of Law Dr Anthony Cassimatis introduced the distinguished judges and was on hand as Justice Collier presented prizes donated by the University to the winning team.

Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Officer, Eve Massingham, said she was delighted with the quality of the students' performance.

"Teachers are encouraged to use this opportunity to introduce students to the concept that even in times of armed hostilities limitations are applied to reduce the suffering of those not directly involved in the conflict," she said.

Media: Dr Anthony Cassimatis (07 3365 2446, a.cassimatis@law.uq.edu.au) or Melissa Reynolds (07 3365 2523, m.reynolds@law.uq.edu.au)