ASP President says this is a time to redouble efforts to demonstrate worth of the ICC to fight impunity

Thursday 12 May 2022

Top: Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi
Bottom row, L-R: Sternford Moyo, Dr Mark Ellis, Kate Orlovsky, Dr Carsten Stahn, Professor Michael P Scharf

Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, President of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) Assembly of States Parties (ASP), spoke of the need for the ICC to ‘demonstrate its worth’ during a keynote address on Sunday 8 May 2022 at the online opening ceremony of the International Bar Association (IBA) ICC Moot Court Competition, organised by the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies of Leiden Law School.

Watched by nearly 200 legal scholars and professionals, the speech, given by the President of the ASP - the management oversight and legislative body of the ICC - touched on issues related to the contemporary relevance of the Court, its governance and gender equality. Audience questions followed the address. Click here to view the full speech.

ASP President Fernández de Gurmendi said: ‘This is a very important event, and I am extremely pleased to see so much interest and participation of so many universities of various regions of the world. Interest and participation of the younger generation is exactly what we need to promote the rule of law and the course of justice. We live now in particularly distressing and challenging times; however, it is not a time to despair but rather to redouble efforts to demonstrate the worth of the institutions that we have already created to fight evil and impunity. It is indeed a moment for the ICC to demonstrate its worth. I can assure that this is exactly what the Court and the community around it are trying to do. Both the Court and the community are involved in important initiatives to make sure that the Court can deliver on its crucial accountability measures.

The opening ceremony also featured remarks from IBA President Sternford Moyo; IBA Executive Director Dr Mark Ellis; Dr Carsten Stahn, Professor of International Criminal Law and Global Justice at Leiden University; and Professor Michael P Scharf, Dean of Case Western Reserve University School of Law and Chair of the IBA ICC Moot Court Competition Board of Advisors.

The three-week 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 competition aims to create a moot problem that illustrates relevant and pending issues before the ICC, and to familiarise student participants with the law and practice of trials held at the Court’s premises in The Hague, the Netherlands.

This year, a total of 76 student teams from 42 countries will simulate ICC proceedings, acting as counsel for the prosecution, defendant, or victims, with almost 500 legal experts volunteering their time either scoring memorials or judging the oral rounds.

Mr Moyo commented: ‘I am proud of the IBA ICC Moot Court, which provides students from around the world the opportunity to learn from the best international criminal lawyers in the field. The Grotius Centre and the organising committee have again done a fantastic job in creating a full and exciting schedule of Moot Court pleadings and academic activities. I would also like to thank the many IBA members who are participating as volunteer judges this year, without whom this competition would not be possible.’

Dr Ellis stated: ‘Like the Court itself, this competition represents the international community coming together. The ICC has a unique place in the legal order and at this moment, it is more urgent than ever to have an effective and well-supported ICC. The students who participate in the IBA ICC Moot are the future practitioners who will carry the fight against impunity into the next generation. The IBA is honoured to support them, and by doing so, support better knowledge and understanding of international criminal law and the Rome Statute system.

Over the course of the competition, the students will be assessed on their pleading structure, knowledge and use of rules and principles of law, persuasiveness and rebuttals. Virtual academic events for students and volunteering judges will also take place. On 27 May, the final round of the competition will feature a hybrid pleading with judges adjudicating in an ICC courtroom and the students connected online. This will be streamed live via the ICC’s website. During the closing ceremony on 28 May, the achievements of participants and teams will be recognised in a number of categories. Dr Ellis and IBA ICC & International Criminal Law (ICC & ICL) Programme Director Kate Orlovsky will present awards including for the Best Non-Native English-Speaking Team, Best Newcomer Team, Best Oralist and Best Memorial.

As with previous years, the IBA offered scholarships to teams in the form of fee waivers. During the 2022 edition, fee waivers are awarded to the teams from Bangladesh, Brazil, the Kingdom of Cambodia, Hong Kong, Iran, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Turkey and Uganda.


Notes to the Editor

  1. The recording of the opening ceremony of the IBA ICC Moot Court Competition is available here.
  2. At the beginning of 2021, the IBA and Grotius Centre of Leiden University signed a new memorandum of understanding, which positioned the IBA as the primary supporting part-ner of the event and renaming it the IBA ICC Moot Court Competition.
  3. International Bar Association (IBA), the global voice of the legal profession, is the foremost organisation for international legal practitioners, bar associations and law socie-ties. Established in 1947, shortly after the creation of the United Nations, it was born out of the conviction that an organisation made up of the world's bar associations could contrib-ute to global stability and peace through the administration of justice.
  4. The IBA commenced the International Criminal Court and International Criminal Law (ICC & ICL) Programme in 2005. The Programme monitors issues related to fairness and equality of arms at the ICC and other Hague-based war crimes tribunals and encourages the legal community to engage with the work of these courts. The IBA’s work includes thematic le-gal analysis of proceedings, and ad hoc evaluations of legal, administrative, and institutional issues which could potentially affect the rights of defendants, the impartiality of proceed-ings and the development of international justice.

    The Programme also acts as the interface between the Courts and the global legal commu-nity. As such, special focus is placed on monitoring emerging issues of particular relevance to lawyers and collaborating with key partners on specific activities to increase engagement of the legal community on ICC and ICL issues.

    Based in The Hague, the IBA ICC & ICL Programme consults and interacts with court offi-cials, civil society organisations, academics, and international lawyers.

For further information please contact:

Kate Orlovsky
Director, The Hague Office
International Bar Association

Nassaulaan 19
2514 JT The Hague
The Netherlands

Mobile: +31 (0) 70 737 0686
Email: kate.orlovsky@int-bar.org
Website: www.ibanet.org

Romana St. Matthew - Daniel
Press Office
International Bar Association

5 Chancery Lane
London WC2A 1LG
United Kingdom

Direct Line: +44 (0)20 7842 0094
Email: romana.daniel@int-bar.org
Website: www.ibanet.org

Website page link for this news release:

Short link: tinyurl.com/mtvpaxp2

Full link: www.ibanet.org/ASP-President-says-this-is-a-time-to-redouble-efforts-to-demonstrate-worth-of-the-ICC-to-fight-impunity