South Africa Wins High School International Moot Court at The Hague 2016!

January 29, 2016 – On January 22, high school students from NYC, U.S.A. and Pretoria, South Africa argued their case in front of four International Criminal Court (ICC) judges at the Peace Palace. Congratulations to South Africa’s all-star team for winning the final round, and to the NYC all-star team for placing second out of a total of 16 teams from around the world.

Alexter Thompson, Hillcrest HS, argues for the NYC prosecution as Pretoria's defense team prepares their arguments.
Alexter Thompson, student at Hillcrest HS, Queens, argues for the NYC prosecution as Pretoria’s defense team prepares their arguments.

For the third year, the JRC in cooperation with the City Hall of The Hague coordinated the International Moot Court at The Hague for high school students. The 2016 case was about war crimes and crimes against humanity in the fictional country of Cheketalo. The case was written by Molly Martin, an attorney at the ICC, and reviewed by a committee of attorneys from The Hague and NYC. Students prepared their arguments based upon the Rules of Procedure and Evidence adopted by The Assembly of States Parties for the ICC. Students participated in multiple-elimination rounds at Leiden University Law School from January 19-21. NYC, U.S.A., coached by NYC law firms, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and Arnold & Porter LLP, and Pretoria, South Africa, coached by Gift Kgomosotho, Legal Researcher to UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings, Christof Heyns, emerged as the top two teams.  Philispburg, St. Maarten, a new team to the competition, impressed their fellow competitors and placed third.

The student selection process varies from all-star teams to school teams with specific criteria for student selection enabling students from various socio-economic backgrounds to participate. One of the goals of the International Moot Court is to encourage countries across the globe to build thriving student leagues with local and national Moot Court competitions, leading to greater participation at the international level.

2016 IMC participants after the final round at the Peace Palace, The Hague. Front row: ICTY Judge Orie, Deputy Mayor Ingrid van Engelshoven, Special Tribunal for Lebanon Judge Hrdlickova, ICC Judge Pangalangan, IMC case writer Attorney Martin, and ICC Judge Morrisson.

Congratulations to all teams and coaches for making the competition a success!