Malaysia: Teamwork helps Moot Court first-timers become champions
KDU University College nearly didn’t enter this year’s International Humanitarian Law Moot Court Competition, organized by the ICRC and the University of Malaya. However, the determination of Maziya Abd Sattar and New Su Ann paid off when, on their debut, they won the Malaysian round of the competition.
Two teams from KDU University College, Malaysia, this year took part in the international humanitarian law (IHL) moot court competition – the first time the university has been represented in the contest. Both teams cited the support of their lecturers and fellow mooters as their main motivation throughout the competition, especially as university examinations were due to take place just a week later.
“It was torturous to say the least,” recalls Su Ann, describing how she and her teammates had to research IHL using the broad spectrum of resources available online at the same time as preparing for their examination.
Su Ann, who also walked away with the prize for the competition’s Best Mooter, had participated in external moot court competitions before, but her partner Maziya had only taken part in an internal university competition. However, Maziya was quick to seize the opportunity given the motivating subject of this year’s moot: an armed conflict between two states and three charges of war crimes under Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Maziya saw the challenge as “a chance to acquire a wide array of skills, from researching to presenting my arguments in the most convincing way”.
As it was their debut competition, Maziya and Su Ann confessed they did not really expect to get through to the semi-finals, particularly as they were up against experienced teams from eight other private and public universities. Their main goal was to get through the competition “alive and with their dignities intact”. In the final, they were the prosecuting team against a defence team from the University of Malaya. To their utter astonishment, they won!
Even with their exams looming, Maziya and Su Ann are still on ‘cloud nine’, trying to grasp the fact that they not only won the national round but are now heading to Hong Kong next March to represent Malaysia in the prestigious Regional IHL Moot Court Competition.
Asked what they enjoyed most about the competition, both felt that it had been a remarkable experience, charged with adrenaline that came from such fierce competition. The nervousness they felt, coupled with the need to get across the crux of arguments within the time allotted, had been exhilarating.
Both Maziya and Su Ann said that the experience and learning gained from the competition, be it knowledge of IHL, advocacy skills, teamwork or gaining a wider network of friends, would undoubtedly serve them well in the future. For Maziya, the competition provided an excellent supplement to the standard syllabus to learn and experience the law, in preparation for her future as a solicitor.
Attributing their success to the tremendous support from their lecturers and moot club members, both girls said: “This is as much their victory as it is ours!”