A team of American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) law students traveled to The Hague, Netherlands to compete in this year’s International Criminal Court (ICC) moot court competition.
AUAF is the only Afghan university to have qualified for the ICC moot court competition. The team earned the Spirit of the Competition Award in last year’s competition. This year marked AUAF’s second successful outing in this major international competition.
The AUAF team consisted of six law students – Hila Gharzai, Ghazia Popalzai, Seddiqa Qassemi, Kalimullah Rahmani, Faramarz Sangi, and Najibullah Sharifi – along with student coach Mohammad Murtaza Haqeeqat and faculty coach professor Mohammad Haroon Mutasem.
This year’s competition was held from May 14th through the 19th at Leiden University in The Hague. The competition consisted of an extensive six-day program which included unique educational and social opportunities. In an effort to help each participant learn as much as possible about international law and governance operating in The Hague, participants got to tour the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and the ICC. The goal of the competition and the broader experience was to bring together students of diverse backgrounds and cultures to The Hague in an effort to prepare them with the necessary skills and experiences to be international lawyers who make a difference.
In addition to those invaluable experiences, students had the opportunity to meet and network with distinguished international jurists and practitioners who judged each round and gave constructive feedback to each and every participant on both their written as well as oral performances. The rigorous week of competition ended with the final round taking place in the actual ICC Court room with ICC judges adjudicating the case.
It was not easy for AUAF to field a team, much less one that was impressive enough to advance eight spots. The terrorist attacks last year led to a number of serious challenges the team faced in getting ready for the competition. The AUAF campus was closed for much of the year which meant that the team did not have access to their library or the internet. In addition, finding places and times to meet and coordinating work products proved very difficult.
Despite all of this, the AUAF team received top scores in their memorandum evaluations with the prosecution council achieving 96 points, the victim council achieving 94 points and the defense council achieving 93 points. Murtaza Mohammad, the student coach for the AUAF team at year’s ICC Moot Court competition, wanted to share that “I recommend all AUAF students to try their best to participate in the moot court competitions while studying at AUAF, as it opens the door of new learning and opportunities.”
About the Afghanistan Legal Education Project
Founded in 2007 as a student–driven initiative, the Afghanistan Legal Education Project (ALEP) develops innovative legal curricula to help Afghanistan’s universities train the next generation of lawyers and leaders. ALEP is one of the projects under Stanford Law School’s Rule of Law Program.
About Rule of Law Program: Established in 1999, the Rule of Law Program offers opportunities for students to learn the theory and practice of international development and state-building through coursework, experiential learning, and research. Through courses and directed research, students have the opportunity to conduct research and develop scholarship on rule of law issues with Stanford Law School faculty.