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Law student wins national military award

[Jennifer Dumoulin]
Jennifer Dumoulin, Law'15, was recently selected as the winner of the Sword & Scale essay contest.

For Jennifer Dumoulin, Law'15, winning a prestigious Canadian essay competition isn’t just a personal triumph – it’s a tribute to her upbringing.

Dumoulin was recently selected by a jury as the winner of the Sword & Scale essay contest, an award established by the National Military Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) to promote and reward interest in military law topics in Canadian law schools.

“I’m from a military family,” she says. “My dad’s a retired captain in the Canadian Air Force, so in a way, this competition and the award has always been on my radar. I was definitely thinking of my family when I submitted it.”

Her essay, “What’s in an Act? Conduct, Context and Time,” focuses on a challenging aspect of military engagement and humanitarian law.

“It’s about the concept of direct participation in hostilities,” she says, “defining how civilian status can be abandoned during an armed conflict through acts and allow that person to be lawfully targeted by the armed forces.”

While the military runs in her family, Dumoulin credits the Faculty of Law for her interest in humanitarian law.

“I was a participant in one of the Global Law Programs at the Bader International Study Centre after my first year of studies at Queen’s, learning from Major Phillip Drew (Law’00, LLM’12) really sparked my interest in that aspect of the law,” she says. “Over the last year, I’ve been working with Professor Darryl Robinson – currently on sabbatical – while I developed this essay.”

These interests have already led her abroad: when the award was announced, Dumoulin was in Europe, interning with the Human Rights and Law Division of the UNAIDS Secretariat, assisting with policy work with a focus on human rights.

The CBA jury for the competition commended the essay as “not only concise and clear, but demonstrating Dumoulin’s complete understanding of a complex challenge in the area of international humanitarian law.”