2022 IBA ICC Moot Court Competition won by The Honourable Society of King’s Inns
Thursday 2 June 2022
The Honourable Society of King’s Inns (Ireland), pictured bottom left, has been named winner of the 2022 International Bar Association (IBA) International Criminal Court (ICC) Moot Court Competition. China University of Political Science and Law (China) and Emory University School of Law (United States) placed second and third, respectively. The Awards Ceremony took place on 28 May and can be watched here.
The final round of the Competition was held in a hybrid format: streamed live from Courtroom 1 of the ICC on 27 May, with ICC Judge Althea Violet Alexis-Windsor presiding in person, together with legal officers Cynthia Chamberlain and Farhaan Ahmed (pictured top left), and the three finalists’ teams pleading online.
Chair of the IBA ICC Moot Court Competition Board of Advisors and Dean of Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Professor Michael P Scharf commented: ‘After six preliminary rounds and three elimination rounds, a new ICC Moot Court World Champion was crowned. But all the students participating in the competition were winners. Through their many hours of research, writing and practice, they have mastered the fundamentals of international criminal law and procedure. They have developed expertise concerning the International Criminal Court's Statute, rules, negotiating record and precedents. And they have developed impressive advocacy skills that will carry them forward in their legal careers.’
The IBA ICC Moot Court Competition is designed to enhance law students’ knowledge of the Rome Statute – the treaty that established the ICC in 2002 – and proceedings of the Court. Each year, the teams present oral arguments in a fictitious case tackling key issues and current developments in international criminal law. They address fundamental issues of a substantive and procedural nature in the roles of the Office of the Prosecutor, the Defence and Victims’ Counsel.
This year the Competition’s organisers, the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, hosted 456 online pleadings and offered a variety of academic events for 76 student teams from 46 countries and 545 legal experts who had either volunteered as evaluators of memorials in the written phase or as judges during the oral hearings.
The closing ceremony of the 2022 Competition took place on 28 May, with remarks by IBA President Sternford Moyo, IBA Executive Director Dr Mark Ellis, and the Chair of the IBA ICC Moot Court Competition Organising Committee, Professor Dr Carsten Stahn. During the closing ceremony, IBA awards were given in recognition of special accomplishments by the IBA’s President and Director of the IBA ICC & ICL Programme Kate Orlovsky for Best Memorial Overall, Best Oralist of the Preliminary Rounds, Best Non-Native English-Speaking Team and Best Newcomer Team.
Mr Moyo, Chairman and Senior Partner at Scanlen and Holderness in Zimbabwe expressed his thanks to the ICC and the many volunteering judges by saying: ‘We would like to thank the International Criminal Court for hosting the final round in their courtroom, and to the ICC judges and staff who generously gave time to judge. To all the judges, in particular the IBA members, we cannot thank you enough for volunteering your precious time to guide and share your legal expertise with the students. Some of you have been committed to the event for many years and we hope you will continue to do so for many more. The support of the judges is what makes this competition possible.’
Dr Ellis commented: ‘At a time when international criminal law is front and centre of news agendas in a way not seen for quite some time, the experience of the IBA ICC Moot Court Competition is invaluable to international students. Through these competitions we aim to instil in new generations of international criminal law practitioners the absolute imperative to preserve the rule of law and to fight impunity. We have high aspirations that we will see some of them working at the ICC in the future, or that they will be promoting the Rome Statute system in their domestic jurisdictions.’
Highlights of the 2022 IBA ICC Moot Court Competition included:
- On 8 May, an opening address from ICC Assembly of States Parties (ASP) President Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi, who gave an inspirational speech about gender equality and the present-day relevance of the Court.
- On 17 May, a high-level panel reflected on the Ongwen case. Led by Professor Scharf the panel featured Milena Sterio, Professor of Law and LLM Programs Director at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law; Tom Obhof, Assistant to Counsel on the Defence Team for Dominic Ongwen at the ICC; Jonathan Worboys, Barrister at 4 New Square Chambers, London; and Gregory Townsend, Senior Legal Officer for the Court Support Services of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia Registry (2014-present).
- On 19 May, an expert panel on ‘Universal Jurisdiction’ took place. It was led by Prof Dr Stahn and comprised international criminal law experts Nathalie von Wistinghausen, Defence Counsel at The Special Tribunal for Lebanon; Dr Priya Pillai, Head of the Asia Justice Coalition secretariat; and Dr Thijs Bouwknegt, Coordinator of the Holocaust and Genocide Studies Programme at the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust & Genocide Studies.
- On 25 May, a public event through Leiden University’s Grotius Centre on ‘Indigenous Peoples and Trials before International Criminal Courts and Tribunals’ took place.
This year’s moot participants were also invited to attend the IBA War Crimes Committee’s Annual Conference events held between 9 and 13 May.
Prof Dr Stahn said: ‘This Moot Court Competition stands as a beacon of hope at a time where we urgently need forward-looking and engaged lawyers from all parts of out globe to stand up for international justice and human rights. We would like to thank all teams and judges for an excellent and inspiring performance. We would also like to express our gratitude to IBA for the wonderful support they provide. We are looking forward to keeping up the bonds with all participants and hope to see all of you back for our 2023 edition!’