University of Pretoria's Centre for Human Rights participates at the 19th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition

Posted on October 05, 2010

This year the 19th competition will be held at the University of Abomey Calavi, Cotonou, Benin from 4-9 October 2010.

All law faculties in Africa are invited to send one faculty representative who is in the field of human rights (dean or another lecturer) who will serve as a judge in the preliminary rounds, and two undergraduate students (preferably one man and one woman) who will constitute the team that represents their university at the moot court.

At the moot the students argue a hypothetical case, based on the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, before a bench made up of human rights experts. This year’s case involves criminalisation of negligent HIV transmission, polygamy, sexual conduct at initiation schools and the jurisdiction of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The panel of eminent international jurists who will judge the final round include Justice Robert Dossou, Chief Justice of Benin; Adv Reine Alapini Gansou, Chair of the African Commission; Justice Johann van der Westhuizen, South African Constitutional Court; Dr David Padilla, former Secretary-General of the Inter-American Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Ms Nana Oye, prominent human rights lawyer in Ghana and an alumna of the Centre’s LLM programme.

The African Human Rights Moot Court Competition has become the largest annual gathering on the continent of students and lecturers of law. Established in 1992, 915 teams from 127 universities, representing 47 African countries, have over the last 18 years participated in this premier event on the university and human rights calendar of the continent.

Frans Viljoen, Director of the Centre, expressed the following view: “The Moot Court Competition should have been held in Benin long ago. It is one of the leading post-1990 democracies in Africa, and it has one of the most respected Constitutional Courts on the continent. For South Africans, in particular at this time, an insight into this comparative experience could be very enlightening. The university with which we collaborate, Université d’Abomey Calavi, also has a UNESCO Chair in Human Rights, and we see the moot as an important step towards closer collaboration with Benin, and particularly with this University.”

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