During the first week of the Winter Course, 40 Academy students took part in the first ever ‘Hours in Crisis’ simulation exercise where they acted as legal counselors in a fictitious case dealing with an international crisis. The ‘Hours of Crisis’ simulation exercise, created entirely by the Academy’s Secretary-General Professor Thouvenin, lasted almost 10 hours and gave students an exciting chance to put their international law knowledge and skills to the test.

On Saturday January 12, the Academy students were presented a case regarding a satellite that had collided with an unidentified object in space. The satellite was aimed principally at providing telecommunications services to several state entities of one state. The collision resulted in the satellite to break apart and one of the largest debris, containing the electronic heart as well as its computer memory, fell into the Arctic area and sunk deep into the Arctic ocean.

Soon after a special mission to recover the debris was initiated, a dispute emerged as certain facts came to light regarding the nature of the debris. The dispute discusses what measures should be taken to resolve it in a peaceful manner in accordance with international law. The students were divided into eight teams representing UN Member States, law firms and companies dealing with the legal and political questions arisen by the dispute. At several points throughout the day, the student teams produced legal advice and legal opinions and participated in crisis negotiations.

In the late afternoon, a final meeting took place in the Auditorium of the Academy Building where student teams had the opportunity to present their legal advice and compete with each other in front of distinguished legal scholars making up the Final Panel on the Draft Security Council Resolution. The members of the Final Panel decided which team and speakers they considered to be the best.

Professor Catherine Kessedjian, who was responsible for the General Course of the Winter Session, was part of the Final Panel and gave the closing remarks. She advised the students to practice how to present a case before a judge without being dependent on your notes. Also, she encouraged the students not to read their notes directly from the screen or paper, but to address and interact with the judge or jury and rather use notes for security only. Another important piece of advice that Professor Kessedjian gave is that as a future lawyer you should try to train yourself not to use filler words as these words distract or may prevent the listener from concentrating on the point being argued. Lastly, she emphasized the importance of having the ability to adapt your presentation in response of information/facts stated by others who speak before you do. Professor Kessedjian stated that this will require practice and remarked that she had thoroughly enjoyed listening to the presentations of the students that afternoon.

After ‘Hours in Crisis’ was over, everyone gathered in the Foyer for a small reception. It was a successful event and a valuable experience for all participants.

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