9th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition honours an icon

Posted on August 03, 2017


The 9th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition, was held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland from 18 to 21 July 2017. 

The competition is open to both undergraduate and master's degree law students. A team of two students from each university – preferably one woman and one man – is invited to participate. In the preliminary rounds the students submit heads of argument for a hypothetical case, which are assessed by a panel of experts. The five best teams from each UN region are then invited to participate in the pre-final and final rounds of the competition in Geneva. Here, teams have to argue the two sides of the hypothetical case, the Applicant and the Respondent, before a 'bench' of human rights experts.

The 2017 Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition included a one-day event, designed to expose students to the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights as well as the Human Rights Council. This involved personal interaction with senior staff members of both institutions who are involved in key activities and processes.

A proud Christof Heyns, professor of human rights law at the University of Pretoria and member of the UN Human Rights Committee, reported from Geneva on the opening day of the competition, which coincided with Nelson Mandela International Day.  'Today we had the opening of the Nelson Mandela World Moot Court Competition in the Palais de Nationas in Geneva.  It is truly a global event, with teams from the law faculties of Armenia, Belarus, Oxford and Yale – and many others – participating,'  Prof Heyns said during his opening address.

The event was promoted with posters on trams criss-crossing Geneva.

The competition is presented by the Centre for Human Rights, based at the University of Pretoria, with the support of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, in collaboration with the Regional Office for Southern Africa of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (ROSA).

St Thomas University, Canada, was the overall winner of this event with the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, in second place. Six African universities, 13 Asia Pacific universities, five Latin American and Caribbean universities, eight Western European and five Eastern European universities participated in this event.

As TuksLaw is the host of this competition, law students from the University of Pretoria are barred from participating.  



- Author Elzet Hurter

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