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Bristol sixth formers stage mock war crimes trial

For immediate release: Friday December 2, 2011
For further information: Rebecca McIlhone rmcilhone@redcross.org.uk
Contact number 0117 3012624 or 07525 128297

Bristol sixth formers stage mock war crimes trial

A-Level students from Bristol will attend a British Red Cross justice and fairness symposium at UWE Bristol next week, culminating in an exciting mock war crimes trial in the university courtrooms.

The event, which challenges the students to explore the theme of justice in conflict, will see the sixth formers, from St Brendan’s Sixth Form College, Bristol, taking part in a mock trial on the recruitment of child soldiers, after having taken part in workshops and careers talks in the morning. The students will don gowns and take on the roles of judges, lawyers, witnesses and defendants in the fictional International Criminal Court case, putting into practice what they’ve learned about how war crimes trials are conducted.

UWE Bristol international law students, facilitating the event as part of their street law module, are hoping to bring the topic of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) to life for the sixth formers.

“We are extremely excited to be tackling this new and challenging material,” says Tom Eaton, a third year LLB student at UWE Bristol, “We feel this is a unique opportunity to raise awareness of a subject which infiltrates so many aspects of day-to-day life, yet remains somewhat muted from society's understanding.”

The UWE Bristol students attended a training day at the Red Cross in preparation for staging the trial, which is taken from the Red Cross justice and fairness education resource already in use in schools across Bristol and the South West. Tom Eaton says: “We came away from the training with a real passion for delivering the materials, and feel strongly that A-Level students will benefit immensely from the event.”

The justice and fairness education resource was developed by the Red Cross in partnership with international law firm Allen & Overy. The partnership aims to promote the importance of justice and fairness to young people across the UK. Allen & Overy staff have volunteered their time and expertise to the creation of this resource. Susan Hazledine, from Allen & Overy, said: “We are delighted by the participation of UWE Bristol and Bristol school students. It will enable them to understand the crucial importance of the rule of law and also gain an invaluable insight into the practical realities of life as a qualified lawyer."

The Red Cross believes studying international humanitarian law helps young people understand the complex nature of armed conflict and to approach controversial issues through different perspectives. It also enables them to see the links between people in crisis situations around the world, themselves and their wider communities.

Rosie Walters, justice and fairness project officer for the Red Cross in Bristol, is very positive about the impact it's having on students: “The work we are doing with the resource is really helping young people to stop and think about the story behind the images they are bombarded with on the news every day,” she says. "It's a real challenge organising and delivering a day like this and I'm really looking forward to seeing the UWE students putting it all into action. They’ve been so keen and hard working from the outset that I have no doubt they will pull it off and it will be a fantastic day for the young people".

For more information on the British Red Cross Justice and Fairness resources please visit: http://www.redcross.org.uk/justice

ENDS

http://www.redcross.org.uk/justice

Notes to editors

Reporters and photographers are invited to attend the mock war crimes trial being held at UWE Law School mock courtroom, 4B17 (room 17, 4th floor of B Block),  UWE Bristol Faculty of Business and Law, Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol, BS16 1QY, on Wednesday December 7, at 14:00.
If you would like to attend, please call Rebecca McIlhone on 0117 3012624 or 07525 128297.

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.

We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.

Follow us on Twitter: @BRC_West

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