IBA ICC Moot Court Competition
Organised by Leiden University's Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies
The Hague, The Netherlands
Since 2017 the IBA has partnered with Leiden University’s Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies to stage the week-long IBA ICC Moot Court Competition, which attracts law students from across the globe to test and sharpen their skills for careers as international lawyers. As of 2021, a new five-year Memorandum of Understanding positions the IBA as the primary supporting partner of the event, which is now titled the IBA ICC Moot Court Competition.
Ever since its inception in 2004, the competition has expanded rapidly from 12 participating teams to a record number of 79 teams in 2021. Since 2018, the IBA has awarded scholarships to support two teams from countries participating for the first time or from countries that have not yet ratified the Rome Statute, funding their travel to and accommodation in The Hague, as well as the competition's fee. Scholarships have been awarded in the past years to teams from The Gambia, Tanzania, Kyrgyz Republic, Nepal, Sierra Leone and South Sudan. The IBA ICC Moot Court Competition consists of an extensive six-day educational and social programme, bringing together students of diverse backgrounds and cultures to The Hague to challenge their skills as future international lawyers. It is one of the most prestigious international moot court competitions and aims to improve participants’ knowledge of the ICC, the Rome Statute and international criminal law in general. The competition offers a great opportunity for participants to gain first-hand experience in articulating legal claims before distinguished expert panels. The panel comprises judges from international courts and tribunals, professors of international (criminal) law and other legal professionals, including many IBA members.
The competition’s case addresses fundamental issues of substantive and procedural international criminal law.The moot is designed with the aim of simulating ICC proceedings and introducing students to the procedure of, and some of the legal issues before, the Court. Each team takes on three roles in a hypothetical case: prosecutor, legal representative of victims, and defence counsel. Each role writes a memorial which is reviewed and judged by a legal expert, which helps determine who goes through to the next round. Participating teams are eligible to win various awards, including the IBA Best Oralist Award and the Best Memorial Award. The final round of the competition takes place at the premises of the ICC, judged by a bench including ICC judges.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the competition has successfully moved online since 2020. For more information about this year's competition see: https://iccmoot.com
From a student perspective: Team 16 from The Gambia
The team representing The Gambia in the 2018 ICC Moot Court Competition held in The Hague, the Netherlands from 27 May – 1 June, was one of the 2018 recipients of the International Bar Association (IBA) scholarships awarded to enable outstanding law students to participate in the event. Issa, Musa, Mangikey and David travelled from The Gambia to The Netherlands and documented their experience. In a short (four minutes) inspiring film, the heart, gratitude and determination of Team 16 is captured.Watch video
2021 Edition: Prosecutor V. Dragone Goodrider of Wessos
The 2021 IBA ICC Moot Court Competition was a remarkable edition! For the first time since its inception, the competition took place fully virtual. It also welcomed more teams (and judges) than ever; 80 teams from all corners of the world and more than 500 volunteering judges and memorial evaluators. The final round took place on 25 June in a hybrid format with ICC adjudicating from the ICC Courtroom and the teams pleading online. A recording can be viewed here.
Please see the IBA ICC MCC 2021 Booklet with more information on participating teams and legal experts that made this year a success.
Aside from the oral pleading rounds, the teams and judges had the opportunity to attend a number of side-events, especially designed for them:
- Opening Ceremony with Keynote Speaker Ms Fatou Bensouda, former ICC Prosecutor (recording no longer available)
- Virtual Panel discussion on 'Accountability for Sexual and Gender-based crimes: Progress and Challenges (not recorded)
- Reflections from the ICC Bench: An interview with Judge Howard Morrison QC
- Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights: the Brazilian Indigenous Movement before International Courts and Tribunals
- Awards Ceremony
- Insight into the Case before the International Criminal Court (ICC): Ask the Author
2022 Edition: Prosecutor V. Agon Megor of the Republic of Ibbin
The 2022 virtual edition of the IBA ICC Moot Court Competition welcomed top law students of 76 universities from 42 countries spanning all continents. After six preliminary rounds and three elimination rounds, The Honourable Society of King’s Inns has been named winner of the 2022 edition, with China University of Political Science and Law (China) placing second, and Emory University School of Law (United States) placing third.
Like the previous year, the teams and judges had the opportunity to attend a number of academic side-events, spotlighted below:
- IBA ICC MCC 2022 Opening Ceremony with Keynote Address by Judge Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi, ICC Assembly of States Parties (ASP) President
- Reflections on the Ongwen case. Discussion led by Prof. Michael Scharf (IBA ICC Moot Court Competition Board of Advisors and Dean of Case Western Reserve University School of Law), featuring Prof. Milena Sterio (Professor of Law and LLM Programs Director at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law); Mr. Tom Obhof (Assistant to Counsel on the Defence Team for Dominic Ongwen at the ICC); Mr. Jonathan Worboys, (Barrister at 4 New Square Chambers); and Mr. Gregory Townsend (Lecturer at The Hague University of Applied Sciences)
- Supranational Criminal Law Lecture on ‘Is Universal Jurisdiction becoming more Universal? Taking Stock of Contemporary Practices’. Panel discussion led by Prof. Carsten Stahn (Professor of International Criminal Law and Global Justice, Leiden Law School), featuring Ms. Nathalie von Wistinghausen(Attorney-at-law, International Criminal Law Expert); Dr Priya Pillai (International Lawyer/Head – Asia Justice Coalition); and Dr Thijs Bouwknegt(Researcher – NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies & M.Sc. in Holocaust and Genocide Studies Director – University of Amsterdam). The SCL Lecture Series is a series on international criminal law and has been organised, since 2003, by the Asser institute, the Coalition for the ICC and the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies of Leiden University.
- Panel discussion on ‘Indigenous Peoples and Trials before International Criminal Courts and Tribunals’ moderated by Mr. Matthew Cross (Appeals Counsel at International Criminal Court – acting in personal capacity), featuring Dr. Monica Coc Magnusson (Director of Advocacy and Policy, Cultural Survival); Dr. Carwyn Jones (Honorary Adjunct Professor, Victoria University of Wellington); Ms. Mary Ann Manja Bayang (Global Operations Manager, Indigenous Peoples Rights International); and Mr. Brendan Miller (Special Counsel, Foster LLP).
- Panel discussion on ‘Delivering Meaningful Justice to Indigenous Victims of International Crimes‘ moderated by Prof. Milena Sterio (Charles R. Emrick Jr. – Calfee Halter & Griswold Professor of Law at Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law), featuring Mr. Alancay Morales Garro in a pre-recorded intervention (Global Advocacy Coordinator, Indigenous Peoples Rights International); Dr. Krishna Bhattachan (Expert Adviser, Lawyer’s Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples); Mr. Harold and Mr. Phil Gatensby (Circle Facilitators and Leaders); Ms. Myrna McCallum (Trauma-informed lawyer, Miyo Pimatisiwin Legal Services); Atty. Raymond Marvic C. Baguilat (Senior Legal Associate at UP Law Center Institute of Human Rights); and Justice Harry LaForme (Senior Counsel Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP).
- ICC Moot Court Competition Final Round 2022 organized and hosted by the International Criminal Court
- IBA ICC MCC 2022 Awards & Closing Ceremony
Please see the IBA ICC MCC 2022 Booklet with more information on participating teams and legal experts that made this year an online success again.
The IBA ICC Moot Court Manual
The IBA has developed a Moot Court Manual containing five exercises to introduce students to the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, The Netherlands. Student Members of the IBA can gain access to these materials and guidance notes, allowing them to stage their own small-scale moot court training. In these exercises, students are given an ICC judgment involving events that occurred during a civil war in a fictional country.