Pace Law School Hosts North American Qualifying Round of International Criminal Court Trial Competition January 30 – February 1

Legal arguments relevant to current headlines will deal with “attack against a civilian population…not taking direct part in hostilities”

Possible preview of issues if Obama administration changes US refusal to join the court

WHITE PLAINS, NY (January 28, 2009) – Pace Law School will host the North American qualifying round of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Trial Competition this weekend, from January 30 – February 1. The ICC brings international attention to issues like genocide and war crimes, yet it remains controversial and so far the United States has chosen not to become one of the 108 countries that have joined it.

The case to be argued, though fictitious, is clearly relevant to the conduct of modern warfare and to cases before the ICC – the legality of “an attack against a civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities.”

While the potential of a change to the United States’ ICC position remains unclear in the new administration’s agenda, the new global ICC Trial Competition provides students from around the world with experience and a chance to participate in simulated court proceedings.

The competition will be held at the New York State Judicial Institute at Pace Law School. Media admission by press pass. A keynote address will be given Friday from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM; competitive rounds take place Saturday from 9 AM to 11 AM, 12 PM to 2 PM, and 3 PM to 5 PM, and Sunday from 9 AM to 11 AM, with the final round from 12 PM to 2 PM.

The North American round is open to law students from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The two highest scoring teams in the qualifying round will advance to next month’s finals in The Hague (February 15-20, 2009) to compete against teams from other areas of the world.

“Reconciling justice and peace.” The competition is being sponsored by the Dutch government through the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with Pace Law School, the University of Amsterdam, the American Society of International Law, and the International Criminal Law Network. The partnership was formally announced June 4, 2008, at a reception in Washington, D.C., hosted by Christiaan Kröner, former Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United States.

“This competition brings together participants from all over the world, including countries like the United States that are not yet party to the ICC,” said Frank Majoor, the Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the United Nations in New York, who will address the participating teams on Sunday. “It is a unique opportunity to underline the importance of universality of the ICC, which is an essential player in reconciling justice and peace.”

The competition in brief. Each team will submit three short memorials (briefs) requiring the students to research and develop arguments based on the three participants in ICC prosecutions, i.e., the Prosecution, the Defence, and the Victims’ Advocates. These memorials will be evaluated by legal scholars, and prizes will be awarded for best brief, second place runner-up, and third place runner-up in each of the three categories of memorials. Points are awarded for oral presentations before judges, who are lawyers familiar with the field.

Rules and regulations for participation are available on the ICC Trial Competition Web site at A schedule for the North American qualifying round and Pace Law School’s involvement can be found at

Counteracting atrocities. “Educating students about the kinds of atrocities committed throughout history, and how society now has decided to prosecute those responsible, is of the utmost importance as we prepare these students to be tomorrow’s practitioners,” said Matthew E. B. Brotmann, director of the Pace Law School ICC Moot. Brotmann also serves as special advisor on Policy and Public Information to the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

The ICC Trial Competition is one of the first such competitions in the world. The teams are under the instruction of legal associates and law school professors from the United States and abroad.

International Law is one of two areas in which Pace Law School offers certificate programs to JD and LLM candidates (the other, Environmental Law, contains a large international component). Among the school’s centers of excellence is the Pace Institute for International Commercial Law, which sponsors the internationally renowned Willem Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot each spring in Vienna. The Institute is also the creator of the most extensive and well-regarded Web site on the Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG).

Students in Action. Two Pace Law School students were in The Hague last fall participating in internships sponsored by the school’s Human Rights in Action program. The program also had six additional students working abroad in Arusha, Tanzania (ICTR), Freetown, Sierra Leone (SC-SL), and Phnom Penh, Cambodia (ECCC).

Founded in 1976, Pace University School of Law has nearly 6,700 alumni throughout the country and the world and is consistently ranked among the nation’s top three programs in environmental law. It offers full- and part-time day and evening JD programs on its White Plains, NY, campus and offers the Master of Laws degree in Environmental Law, Real Estate Law and Comparative Legal Studies, and a Doctor of Laws in environmental law. The School of Law is part of Pace University, a comprehensive, independent, and diversified university with campuses in New York City and Westchester County.


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