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Moot Court Team Headed For Competition In The Hague

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Karen Chrisman (2L), Donnell Wright (3L), Brittany Young (3L), Kevin Cobb (2L), and Margarita Tarkalanova at Pace Law School in New York for International Moot Court. Professor Paula Arias is holding the plaque

Karen Chrisman (2L), Donnell Wright (3L), Brittany Young (3L), Kevin Cobb (2L), and Margarita Tarkalanova at Pace Law School in New York for International Moot Court. Professor Paula Arias is holding the plaque. (Photo: Miami Law) Full-Size Photo

Miami Law's International Moot Court team has advanced into the international rounds at the Pace/ICC Moot Competition for the third consecutive year. In a qualifying round at Pace Law School in New York over the weekend, the Miami team became eligible to participate in April at the World Round of the International Criminal Court Trial in The Hague, where the students will argue in front of ICC judges.

In their arguments in New York, team members Kevin Cobb (2L), Karen Chrisman (2L), Brittany Young (3L), Donnell Wright (3L), and Margarita Tarkalanova (3L) took on a fictionalized case of crimes against humanity. The arguments before the court dealt partly with the question of standing – whether the ICC could try the alleged perpetrators once the fictitious country's government had indicated that it would not. There were also questions about whether the head of state would be protected by immunity.

"It was a pleasure to see the students arguing a complex case of crimes against humanity," said Professor Paula Arias, director of the International Moot Court Program and lecturer in law. "The students demonstrated their deep understanding of international criminal law issues, and acted as true professionals."

Arias, who coached the IMCP teams, said the students in the team went through extensive training for the competitions. For four hours a week, they met to discuss and learn the relevant law and the court system, and how to apply the law to the facts. They created arguments and practiced their skills in oral arguments. In addition to meeting and practicing as a group, the team members spent a substantial amount of time researching the issues and writing briefs for their respective competitions.

The students had to try out their arguments in front of Arias, pleading for ten minutes each on issues raised in the competition last year. Students were required to demonstrate knowledge of the law and sharp oral-advocacy skills.

The next step is the global competition, which is sponsored by the Dutch government in cooperation with Pace Law School, the University of Amsterdam, the American Society of International Law and the International Criminal Law Network. Unique among moot court contests in its simulated criminal trial settings, the ICC Moot Court Competition requires each team of students, under the instruction of legal associates and law professors, to take part in three rounds of oral arguments, one from each of three perspectives – prosecutor, defense counsel, and government's counsel.