Debate – National Law University wins 9th Regional Moot Court Competition
In 2001 when the ICRC Regional Delegation for South Asia initiated the Henry Dunant Memorial Moot Court Competition, with the aim of promoting better awareness of IHL among law students at universities throughout India, it was just a beginning. The Moot Court Competition in India has grown steadily since its inception and has included more than 64 teams, representing universities from across the country. And the progressive development was clearly evident in the recently held India National Round of the 13th Henry Dunant Memorial Moot Competition followed by Regional Moot Competition, both jointly organised by the Regional Delegation of the ICRC in India and the Indian Society of International Law (ISIL). For both the competitions, legal luminaries, legal officers and academicians served as judges.
The India National Round was won by the National Law University, Jodhpur which went on to represent the country at the 9th Regional Henry Dunant Memorial Moot Competition in New Delhi where it emerged victorious over the teams from Bangladesh, Iran, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
This year, the ICRC commemorates 150 years of its existence and as a ‘custodian of international humanitarian law’ has constantly been engaging with contemporary challenges to IHL. These moot court competitions eminently contribute to generate interest in IHL and humanitarian issues amongst students and teachers.
On the sidelines of 9th Regional Henry Dunant Memorial Moot Competition we spoke with Ali Akbar Siapoush, PhD Candidate of Public International Law, Shahid Beheshti University, Iran who was one of the judges at the competition to unravel why these competitions are important. Excerpts from the interview:
How do you define the significance of Moot Court competitions?
Generally, Moot Court competitions provide the ground necessary for students to stage abilities they have attained through academic studies and help them to learn the law outside the books. Accordingly, any student can find his/her main field of interest to pursue his/her studies. That is what actually happened for me. Taking part in the national and regional moot court competition was an important turning point in my academic life. Not only did it give me the opportunity to have a better understanding of international criminal law and IHL, but I have also learned much about International Law. It has led me to pursue my PhD dissertation in this field.
From being a participant to judging the participants, you have seen things from the entire spectrum. Your thoughts?
At the 9th Regional Henry Dunant moot court I had the experience of being a judge for the first time, which is very interesting as well. The students were highly motivated and well prepared. All of them have come a long a way to reach this round. The arguments were well reasoned and supported by case law, and they all had a good performance of advocacy, all of which made it very difficult to choose the winner.
Your suggestions on making these competitions better and bigger?
One thing that I would like to suggest to the organizers is to get feedback from participants on the performance of the judges. That would help to assess whether the object and purpose of the moot court have been achieved. The same is true for the students as well: they also need a detailed evaluation of their performance to find the best, and the less good of what they have done.