Prestigious Regional Round of International Criminal Court Moot Competition will select teams to compete in finals at The Hague in April
“An end to impunity”
WHITE PLAINS, NY, January 26, 2011 – International lawyers recently defined international aggression as a crime, making it a crime to start a war.
From Friday, January 28 through Sunday, January 30, fifteen teams of ambitious law students from the U.S. and Canada will wrestle with pathbreaking questions of how that crime might be enforced.
The occasion is the English language round (technically, the “Americas and the Caribbean” round) of the annual International Criminal Court (ICC) Moot court competition, which for the 8th time is being hosted at Pace Law School in White Plains, NY.
Media are invited to all sessions, including a keynote address Friday night by two lawyers who represent the first 11 victims in the Darfur conflict to be recognized before the International Criminal Court, including four victims recognized to participate in the case against Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir, President of the Republic of Sudan.
A true landmark, this case marked the first time that victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide were allowed to actively participate in an international criminal court that seeks to vindicate their rights.
“An end to impunity.”
The Pace ICC Moot, the first moot court competition designed to educate students about crimes against humanity and genocide, brings together participants from around the globe to research and debate what the moot’s founders call the most notorious crimes committed today. Pace Law Adjunct Professor Matthew Brotmann, founder and director of the Pace ICC Moot, said, “It is through this competition and discourse that we hope to equip the next generation of lawyers to put an end to impunity once and for all.”
A pioneer in such legal training, Pace is now an official partner with the International Criminal Court itself, and with the International Criminal Law Network.
Analysis of a new crime
Fifteen teams from the U.S. and Canada, including a team from Pace Law School, will compete this year. The teams will be judged anonymously as they work on a hypothetical problem dealing with the newly defined crime of aggression – the crime of starting a war.
“Because it is such a new crime and there is not yet much case law, this problem will require the students to do a lot of innovative analysis on their own,” remarked Melanie Claassen, J.D. candidate May 2011, the Chair of the Pace/ICLN ICC Moot 2011.
The semi-final round of the competition will be held from 9-11 a.m., and the final round from 11:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m., on Sunday. A lunch reception for teams and judges, at which awards will be announced for best briefs, best oralists and overall winner, will immediately follow the finals. Media admission by press pass.
The top two teams will go on to participate in the Semi-Finals and Finals at the ICC Trial Competition, April 10-15 in The Hague, The Netherlands. In addition, the finalists from last year’s competition at Pace—Yale Law School, the University of Miami School of Law, and Osgoode Hall Law School (Toronto)—are automatically qualified to participate. For the first time this year, finalists will compete in a courtroom at the ICC, adjudicated by ICC judges.
The global competition is sponsored by the Dutch government, in cooperation with Pace Law School, the ICC, the University of Amsterdam, the American Society of International Law, and the International Criminal Law Network (ICLN).
Wanda M. Akin and Raymond M. Brown, co-founders of the International Justice Project, will deliver the keynote at 6 p.m. Friday after a cocktail reception at 5. Reporters and the public are welcome to attend both the reception and speech, which will be held in the Tudor Room in Preston Hall on the Pace Law School Campus, 78 North Broadway, White Plains, N.Y.
As noted, Akin and Brown represent the first 11 victims recognized in the Darfur conflict before the International Criminal Court, including four victims recognized to participate in the case against Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir, President of the Republic of Sudan. This case marked the first time that victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide were allowed to actively participate in an international criminal court that seeks to vindicate their rights.
Akin and Brown will discuss the importance of victim participation in the ICC proceedings, as well as their involvement at the Kampala Conference in 2010, where the crime of aggression was defined.
Pace University School of Law has over 7,000 alumni throughout the country and the world, and is consistently ranked among the nation’s top four programs in environmental law. On its White Plains, NY, campus, it offers JD programs and the Master of Laws degree in Environmental Law, including the nation’s first graduate level programs in Climate Change and Land Use and Sustainable Development, and Comparative Legal Studies, and a Doctor of Laws in Environmental Law. The school is recognized for excellence in areas including international, criminal, and public interest law, and clinical education. The School of Law is part of Pace University, a comprehensive, independent, and diversified university with campuses in New York City and Westchester County. www.law.pace.edu
Contact: Lauren Rubenstein
Manager, Media Relations
cell (914) 329-8680
Contact: Melanie Claassen, J.D. Candidate ‘11
Pace/ICLN ICC Moot 2011 Chair