IBA 2020 ICC Moot Court Memorial Award winners celebrated in virtual event

Tuesday 16 June 2020

For the 2020 edition of the International Criminal Court Moot Court Competition (ICC Moot Court), more than 170 students representing 49 countries gathered virtually to celebrate the winners of the best memorials – lengthy written briefs prepared by each team for prosecution, defence and government roles – submitted in this year’s competition. On Thursday 11 June, the IBA Best Memorial Award, irrespective of role, went to Temple University of the United States. The first runner-up was Prosecution Counsel Team 73 – University of Tartu, Estonia, and the second runner-up was Defense Counsel Team 38 – The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.

Praising the students, Horacio Bernardes Neto, President, International Bar Association (IBA) and Senior Partner at Brazilian law firm Motta Fernandes Advogados, said: ‘We have seen the hard work that went into preparing the memorials in this competition, and it makes the IBA hopeful that your generation of lawyers will be able to accomplish more than ever before. We need international lawyers to possess the same drive you have shown to work together with a commitment to the rule of law and international justice, in order to make significant advancements towards tackling world problems.’

The oral rounds of the ICC Moot Court were scheduled to take place at Leiden University’s campus in The Hague, with the finals taking place in Courtroom I of the ICC. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the competition was limited to written memorials only. Teams from Sierra Leone and South Sudan, both participating in the ICC Moot Court for the first time, had been recipients of the annually awarded IBA scholarships, which would have covered their flights and accommodation.

Designed to introduce law students to the ICC’s procedure through simulating proceedings and raising specific legal issues before the Court, the competition provides participants with an opportunity to sharpen their skills in preparation for their future legal careers. The IBA is a partner of the ICC Moot Court, alongside the ICC and Leiden University.

IBA Executive Director, Mark Ellis, commented: ‘It is the IBA’s belief that international justice needs young, talented and committed scholars and practitioners to uphold rule of law principles, and the ideas behind the existence of a system of international criminal justice with the ICC at its core. The IBA is pleased to partner with Leiden University and the ICC to support this landmark event for international legal education.’

The ceremony included an address by keynote speaker Judge Howard Morrison QC of the ICC, and remarks from Dr Ellis and Mr Bernardes Neto. Dean of the Case Western University School of Law and Chair of the ICC Moot Court Board of Advisers, Professor Michael P Scharf, and Programme Director of the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies at Leiden University and Chair of the ICC Moot Court Organising Committee, Professor Dr Carsten Stahn, also participated in the ceremony on Thursday.

Sharing some words of wisdom with the students in Thursday’s ceremony, Judge Morrison said: ‘Moot Court competitions are a great way to practise before venturing out into the real world. The ICC Moot Court is particularly important to the field as participating students are amongst the privileged people who are able to further shape international criminal law and ultimately make the world a better place.’


Notes to the Editor

  1. The International Criminal Court Moot Court Competition welcomes universities from all over the world for a large scale moot court simulating the proceedings of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Competition consists of an extensive six-day educational and social program, which brings together students of diverse backgrounds and cultures to The Hague to challenge their skills as future international lawyers. The final round is expected to take place in an actual ICC courtroom with ICC judges adjudicating.
  2. The International Bar Association’s International Criminal Court & International Criminal Law Programme (IBA’s ICC ICL 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 legal analysis of proceedings, and ad hoc evaluations of legal, administrative and institutional issues that could potentially affect the rights of defendants, the impartiality of proceedings and the development of international justice.
  3. 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. The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), an autonomous and financially independent entity, works to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.

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