ICC Moot Court Competition 2016

For the fourth consecutive year the Foundation has sponsored a Palestinian team to participate in the International Criminal Court Moot Court Competition. In 2016 we sponsored five students and their coach from Birzeit University, Ramallah. You can read the report of one of the students, Amjad Abu Lafi, down below.

‘My name is Amjad Abu Lafi, I’m a 4th year student at the Faculty of Law and Public Administration at Birzeit University in Ramallah, Palestine.

Participating in the International Criminal Court Moot Court Competition was an amazing and productive experience. Besides gaining great knowledge and experience, we had a great time in The Hague, the city of the International Courts and Tribunals.

How was the team of Birziet formed?
It all started last summer, when we started taking additional courses related to Public International Law as a preparation for the participation in the international moot court competitions. Later we were informed that Birzeit would participate in the ICCMCC for the first time. Dr. Halla Shoaibi then started interviewing the applicants and formed the team of Birzeit University.

Working on the memorials
The case we worked on the whole time was sent to us in November 2015. The day we received the case, we started reading and researching about each issue of the case. We had weekly, sometimes daily, meetings, with the team and even met during holidays.

From November 2015 and till February 2016 we finished and submitted our memorials. The language was one of the issues we had to face and, as it was our first participation, we had some issues with the formalities of the memorials. This researching period was a great experience and we learnt a lot about new materials, theories and creative argumentation.

Practicing on Oral Pleadings
In March we started practicing for the oral pleadings. It was a whole new experience. In order for the team to show the absolute best performance, Dr. Halla asked each of the team members to plead in front of our teachers. In this way she was able to pick the speakers of  the team and the researches and co-counselors. In the weeks before our departure we were practicing once or twice a day. I remember a day were my colleague Elias Al-hihi was practicing while we were walking from a building to another between classes. Dr. Halla spent hours and even days with us, she was always giving notes, hints and advice in order to improve our performance.

Our team used every hour we had to practice, even after we landed in the Netherlands.

In the Hague
The competition was held in the Hague and our sessions were supposed to start a day after we reached the Hague. We were unable to arrive early in the Hague because two of the team members had to wait for their graduation.

I was a Co-counsel in our first session and I was a little bit nervous. We had sessions against universities from all over the world, including the UK, Germany, Slovakia, Georgia, Wales and China. After we finished our sessions we realized we had done a great job.

We didn’t qualify for the quarter finals, but we were very pleased and satisfied with our performance. We understand our mistakes and took notes so we can learn from them for next year, when we or other students participate.

Besides gaining great experience, we had the chance to meet and share culture and knowledge with the elite of law students and professors from all over the world. Our team also got to visit amazing places in the Netherlands specially in the Hague such as the Peace Palace and the International Criminal Court.

We are grateful for the Lutfia Rabbani Foundation and their generous and munificent sponsoring of the team of Birzeit.’