ICJ advocates interview
PT : Press Team
PT: Could you introduce yourself and explain your role at ILYMUN:
BM: My name is Belal Mohamed. I am representing Egypt. I am in Seconde at the Cite Scolaire Internationale.
EP: My name is Emma Pugeaut and I am a student in the International Charles de Gaulle School in Dijon. I am also representing Egypt in this conference.
EH: I am Elowen Hill. I am in Terminale at the American School of Grenoble. I am advocate for Ethiopia.
ER: I am Emily Ren. I am the International School of Lyon and I am also representing Ethiopia.
PT: Could you explain what the role of advocate is?
BM: Advocate is a simulation of trial court. We are advocates who are trying to convince the judges who are playing the role of the jury in real life, to support our case. The judges have to be impartial. We oppose another team of advocates who are also trying to prove their point. By the end, the judges are supposed to decide which side is winning and which advocates played their role best.
EH: The advocates have to write memorandum and present the evidence to the judges.
EP: It is a good simulation of the International Court of Justice as there are different sections that we have to prepare : memorandum, which consists of the argumentative part, and other parts based on evidence that can assert a case.
BM: Unlike the other courts where the debates is supposed to lead to all countries coming to an agreement, in ICJ one country will try and win and the other one is going to lose. There are also the applicant and respondent parties. The applicant country is the one that brought the case to the ICJ and the respondent country is a country whose case they are defending. In our case, Egypt applied to the ICJ against Ethiopia so Ethiopia is the respondent country. The applicant country has to give more solid evidence to try and overrule the status quo. If they don’t convince the judges then the respondent party win by default.
PT: Why did you choose ICJ rather than a regular committee?
BM: I chose the ICJ because I knew beforehand about the case Ethiopia against Egypt. Since I am Egyptian, I have been hearing this case in the news and it was interesting for me to participate in this case.
EP: For me I applied because my teacher briefly talked about the possibility of it. I am the only one that applied in my school and I am really glad that I did because I really like geopolitics and international law. It tackles current issues such as water and water especially is an important environmental matter.
EH: I choose ICJ as this is my third ILYMUN and I have already debated in the normal committees so I wanted to try something new. It is interesting to try and get an insight for what it would be like working on legal bases. I think it is a good challenge as you have to do a lot of work and research.
ER: Teachers at my school mentioned it so I applied and got the position. It gives me the opportunity to learn something new since previously I was in the youth conference.
PT: Have you chosen this role in relation to your future career?
BM: I go to ILYMUN because it changes my normal habits and it diversifies my hobbies. I am more interested in a scientific related future so ILYMUN has nothing in common with what I went to do in the future but I do really enjoy debating. MUN is my way of expressing that as I don’t often get to. I learned a lot about our subject and I really enjoy it.
EP: For me, it is a little bit of both. I think about was curious about the issue but I think I would’ve been open to any geopolitical matter. Being an advocate is actually really related to what I want to do in the future. I plan to do something in relation to international law. I really enjoy debating and I think that law, under any of its forms, is particularly appealing to me. This conference was a really good opportunity for me especially because I am in Terminale, I am applying to political science schools for next year. I just thought this was a good experience as it sets the basics for an advocate’s job especially for international advocate law which is not something we often have the opportunity to practice without a diploma. This was overall very enlightening for me as I learned a lot about an issue I had no knowledge of.
EH: I never considered working in politics or international relations at all before I went to ILYMUN, I first came to ILYMUN two years ago because I was interested in politics and I liked debating but it was more of a hobby and I didn’t go into it thinking I’d make a career out of it. Now that I’ve been going for some time, I realized I was really interested in politics, especially international politics. I think ILYMUN was one of the main causes for me applying to political related universities.
ER: I’m not quite sure about what I want to do in the future but I do know that law and advocacy really interests me and could be a possibility. I find it fun to try and debate and find counter arguments on amendments that the other person has said. For now, it’s mostly an experience but I am keeping my options open.
PT: What are your opinions of the ILYMUN’s theme: water?
BM and ER: I find it interesting since the world is quite affected by it and I find that it is also a current matter so it needs to be discussed.
EH: I find it very topical; a lot of people are saying that we are going to enter the next era of water so I do think it is very relevant topically. I think the theme water was definitely a challenge for ILYMUN organisers because I think it was probably hard to make a whole conference about water even if all of life is surrounded by water. So overall, I think it is a very good idea because it is so topical but it was probably more of a challenge for the organisers. I find the theme so interesting because it is so general but also so precise: water. It’s just one word!
EP: I do think, like the others, that water is the cause of many current issues. Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about these issues and I find that more and more conferences are starting to discuss the vast topic. I think this is because water is at the center of many geopolitical stakes now and before it used to be more around wars concerning armed conflicts. We can see from this change that environmental concerns are more important than ever. Generally, I find it to be very interesting, especially as I think that this topic is what we are going to continue hearing about and discussing for the next couple of years at least. I think that it is a subject that is difficult could be difficult to find but I think that it can really relate to a lot of issues nowadays.
PT: How do you think conferences like ILYMUN can make a change in our future?
BM: I think it is smart that these conferences are targeting younger generations because the younger generation is the one that is growing up and are still settling their minds so it is important to educate them on current topics so that they put what they learn at conferences like this one into consideration for the rest of their lives. It also teaches them to stand up for what they believe in.
EP: I agree, I feel like we have this opinion that it is a topical thing, that idea of student by student is something that everybody does but really it’s not. Everyday, we hear from people that the younger generation is not committed and that we don’t care, which is not at all true . We hear that we are not involved in politics and I think that this is true because we are not given a chance to be heard, we are ignored in politics. These kinds of opportunities give us hope and contradict all the stereotypes that are made about the involvement of teenagers politics. It is also very important as we are going to be taking over, so ultimately, it is fundamental for us to understand the key states and terms when it will be our turn.
EH: I think that a lot of young people feel very disillusioned with or distanced in politics. I think that the UN is quite an enigma to people, everything is kept a secret. So people ask themselves; why is change not being made? A lot of the younger generation turn to the extremes because they are lost, either extreme activism, extreme passivism or radical right… I think that ILYMUN is an excellent chance for students to realise how politics actually work, to gain more respect for organisations like the UN who gets a lot of backlash for not doing enough but also to understand that decision making is really hard. I used to always complain about the efficiency of these politically engaged organisations but now I understand that the issue is often the tip of an iceberg of problems that have accumulated and that so many factors have to be taken into consideration. Even when I am reading the news, I can tell ILYMUN has affected me; I don’t react so hysterically anymore, I try to explore angles and different perspectives.
ER: Younger generations get the opportunity to learn things they might not usually dive into on their own and they get to learn and feel a sense of importance they are not usually given. Considering we are the future generation, we get more insight on matters that might concern us in the future and more experience that might help us.
Chloe Legodec and Jeanne Pierre