IHL Competition: Jean Pictet Competition

"The Jean-Pictet Competition is a unique training in international humanitarian law for students. Its objective: to take the law out of the books".

New Zealand Red Cross, in collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), is offering support to New Zealand university students involved in the Jean Pictet competition for September 2021. 

What is the Jean-Pictet Competition?

The Jean Pictet competition is a unique training-competition in international humanitarian law (IHL) for university students. Preparation for the competition is demanding, but the level of expertise reached by the participants is impressive. 

Teams of three compete by “taking law out of the books”, in the context of simulations and roleplays built around a fictitious armed conflict. The 48 teams, selected from the five continents, first receive a remote training in International Humanitarian Law. They then meet for one week, in a location that changes every year, for the Competition itself.  Teams play the roles of key stakeholders in armed conflicts (military, humanitarian & political officers, lawyers etc.) and interact with the “jury”. The teams benefit from the support of tutors in tests where they are assessed by the jury. All tests are oral - no written part is required, except the application file.

Jean-Pictet Competition 2021

The 36th edition of the Jean-Pictet competition will be held in Indonesia between Saturday 25 September and Saturday 2 October 2021.

Student testimonials

For students wishing to work in the field of International Humanitarian Law, international relations, international criminal law, refugee law, or similar fields, participating in the Competition is a significant asset in a curriculum vitae, as demonstrated by the professional profile of many former participants.

 “Pictet is an experience of a lifetime – I’ve learnt so much and have met amazing people from all around the world!” 

-  Maria, 2020 Pictet Participant

“I learnt more about the realities of international humanitarian law, competed and thereby developed skills such as confidence and advocacy, and met a worldwide group of new friends.” 

- Michael, 2020 Pictet Participant

For further testimonials from participants Click Here


Who can participate?

A team consists of three students, representing a university or a comparable institution (e.g. a military school). Conditions for application require the three participants, at the time of submission, to:

  1. Be registered as students in the represented institution;
  2. Be enrolled in, or have already completed, a Bachelor Degree or it's equivalent. Master Degree students can submit a request under the f. conditions
  3. Be below 30 years of age;
  4. Have a good knowledge of public international law;
  5. Have never before participated in the Competition;
  6. Teams can however submit a request for a member to derogate from any of the first three requirements of this list if they can demonstrate that they do not have a disproportionate level of experience in the field comparable to usual competition participants.


The competition changed my life: Dr Emiliano J Buis

Dr Emiliano J. Buis, Professor of International Law and Ancient Greek at the University of Buenos Aires and  member of the Committee for the Jean-Pictet Competition, talks about how the competition changed his life and what participants can expect. 

What are the benefits of competing?

  • Pictet is unlike other mooting competitions both in its roleplay format and its emphasis on equity and international networking. Networking, both among the participants and among the forty Competition volunteers who work in related fields, is an excellent opening to people of diverse backgrounds and profiles.

  • The Competition aims to encourage a spirit of international cooperation and has a large and active network of alumni, which receives a “Directory” list of contacts details twice a year of those participants who consent to share their contact and career details.

  • Alumni commonly work in IHL, international relations, departments of foreign affairs and international organisations, as well as militaries, international criminal law and other related fields. Indeed, for students wishing to work in these fields, the Competition is a major asset in a curriculum vitae.

  • The Competition encourages a well-rounded knowledge of international public law and IHL as students do not prepare for a single moot problem but must instead anticipate a half-hour preparation for a previously unseen roleplay scenario.

  • Non-legal aspects, such as teamwork, presentation and communication skills, stress management, are developed throughout the preparation and the week of the competition.

Offer of support from New Zealand Red Cross and ICRC

The ICRC Regional Delegation in the Pacific and the New Zealand Red Cross are pleased to offer their support to New Zealand universities to encourage their participation in the Jean-Pictet Competition. 

ICRC Legal Adviser, Emily Defina, and the IHL Assistant of the New Zealand Red Cross, Maria Rabino-Neira, both involved in the competition previously, are available to assist with coaching and advice to participating universities and students. They can be contacted at nzrcpictet@redcross.org.nz.

Resources and more information.

For a range of helpful resources on IHL, download the International Committee of the Red Cross International Humanitarian Law App here.

For further information, please visit the Jean-Pictet Competition website, by clicking here.