IBA ICC Moot Court Competition opens its 2024 session with an address by the ICC President, Judge Akane

Monday 3 June 2024

The 2024 International Bar Association (IBA) International Criminal Court (ICC) Moot Court Competition has begun with a keynote address by ICC President, Judge Tomoko Akane. Speaking to a packed auditorium of more than 350 participants Judge Akane highlighted the importance of the ICC in the global fight against impunity and the need for state parties, civil society and the world’s citizens to work together in support of the Court’s mandate to seek justice.

ICC President, Judge Akane said, ‘The ICC is entrusted with a noble mandate: to fight against impunity and establish the rule of law by carrying out fair judicial proceedings. This is an enormous responsibility which can only be realised by a lot of committed professionals, both within and outside the ICC, working together. The future of international justice is dependent on aspiring young professionals such as yourselves. I hope that the ICC moot will be an opportunity for aspiring youth to further familiarise themselves with ICC proceedings, acquire advocacy skills and connect with like-minded people. […] [T]he issues contained in the moot problem are actual issues that may arise in real world situations or those that have been relevant in actual cases before the Court. One of the great characteristics of this competition is also that many of the judges who will pose questions to you are familiar with the practice in ICC proceedings. I am therefore confident that in attempting to persuade these judges, you will learn a lot about the actual practice of ICC proceedings, and not just the theory.’

Judge Akane’s full address can be read here.The opening ceremony also included remarks from Kate Orlovsky, Director of the IBA ICC & ICL Programme in the Hague; Dr Carsten Stahn, Professor of International Criminal Law and Global Justice at Leiden University and Chair of the IBA ICC Moot Court Competition Organising Committee; 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; and Rob Schuurmans, Deputy Director for Internal Affairs of the Municipality of The Hague.

In its 11th year, the annual IBA ICC Moot Court Competition, organised in collaboration with the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies of the Leiden University, began on Friday 31 May in The Hague, The Netherlands. This year, the seven-day educational and social programme has brought together 93 teams comprised of 500 law students from 47 countries. As in previous years, through IBA scholarships, teams from the National Law College of Nepal, the University of Ghana, the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil and the Ukraine Catholic University have been assisted in participating in the Moot Court.

IBA Executive Director Mark Ellis, commented, ‘The IBA ICC Moot Court provides students, with diverse backgrounds and cultures from around the world, with an incredible opportunity to develop their theoretical and practical knowledge of international criminal law; and to learn from the best international criminal lawyers in the field. Over the years our Moot Court has contributed to a global community of practitioners who will carry on the fight against injustice and criminal acts into the next generation and beyond.’

The IBA ICC Moot Court is a simulation of the proceedings of the ICC where participants act as the prosecution, defence and victims’ counsel. In particular, the competition is designed to enhance law students’ knowledge of the Rome Statute – the treaty that created the ICC in 1998 – and support their understanding of the proceedings of the Court in more detail.

The competition consists of a series of written and oral rounds of arguments as the student teams are presented with a fictitious case. This year, The Prosecutor v Lionel Strong – Situation in The Republic of Sirax is the fictional case. Law students will explore the question of whether the destruction of cultural heritage constitutes a prosecutable war crime or is a crime against humanity. The participating teams submit written memorials that are assessed by international law practitioners who have volunteered as judges or evaluators. Of the 300 volunteers, many are IBA members.

Professor Scharf stated, 'Every year, the ICC Moot Court seeks to educate a new generation of international lawyers about an important aspect of international criminal law. This year’s case focuses on the protection of cultural objects, which are under attack in conflicts around the globe, threatening identity, memory, and the future of entire populations.'

Participating students are assessed on their pleading structure, knowledge and use of principles of law and rules of procedure, persuasiveness and rebuttals. The achievements of participants and teams will be recognised with a number of awards bestowed at the end of the competition.

The final round will take place on Friday 7 June, in a courtroom of the ICC, where students will present their arguments orally with ICC Judge Althea Violet Alexis-Windsor presiding.


Notes to the Editor

  1. 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 partner of the event and renaming the event – the IBA ICC Moot Court Competition.

  2. The International Bar Association (IBA), the global voice of the legal profession, is the foremost organisation for international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. 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 contribute to global stability and peace through the administration of justice.

  3. The IBA commenced the International Criminal Court and International Criminal Law (ICC & ICL) Programme in 2005. Since its establishment, in The Hague, The Netherlands, the IBA ICC & ICL Programme has contributed to the development of international criminal justice through monitoring and analysing issues related to fairness and equality at the ICC, and through conducting outreach to deepen the understanding of the place of the ICC within the broader landscape of international justice and in particular contexts. The Programme works to increase cooperation with and support for the ICC and other accountability efforts, with the goal of strengthening the Rome Statute system globally and achieving fair, effective and accessible justice for victims of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression.

    The Programme also acts as the interface between the courts and the global legal community. 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 engages with court officials, state representatives, 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

Phone: +31 (0) 70 737 0686
Email: kate.orlovsky@int-bar.org
Website: www.ibanet.org/ICC-ICL-Programme

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