‘Justice is a moral passion, and a longing in the human heart that transcends cultural and national borders’ – Shirin Ebadi.
The above ethos is the summation of SLS Moot programs. My experience in SLS has undoubtedly focused on moulding me into a holistic lawyer but with an emphasis of brandishing a moral passion that burns stronger each day. The 2nd Strathmore International Criminal Law Moot Court Competition (SICLMC 23) was an opportunity to add fuel to the fire of those that have strong interests in International Criminal Justice.
More than ever before, the challenges experienced and witnessed in my lifetime from both man-made sources and global pandemics have encouraged me to look to international justice as the chief discharger of the mandate of humanity, which law is primarily crafted to achieve. This belief stems from the institution’s responsibility to insist on accountability where perpetrators seek to evade the consequences of their actions. The international criminal justice community serves victims of the most atrocious crimes and is the last yet most consequential bulwark of justice given the epochal nature of its determinations across the planet; most importantly where the cause of justice is supressed.
As a young member of Generation Z in Kenya, I scarcely remember the horrors of the 2007/08 post-election violence. The relics of the horrific period registered in my mind as I watched the ICC proceedings concerning the situation in Kenya. Though my understanding of the magnitude or substance of the proceedings was shallow, it struck me as a meticulous and thorough inquisition aimed at dispensing justice and protecting those that were involved aiding the court; I particularly remember being amused at the witnesses whose voices were altered to protect their identity, they reminded me of Darth Vader from Star Wars!
I joined Strathmore in 2021 and as a first-year participated in the internal moot court competition that selects capable oralists and researchers to represent the university in other moots. With the help of my lecturers who I must commend for their commitment, I was selected to represent the school in the SICLMC 23 together with my colleagues, Christan Wanjero and Jaden Koome. The commitment did not end at that stage but the Strathmore team would arrive in school before 7am on most days to write memorials, practice oral submissions and pleasant of all, eat breakfast together before classes commenced! Hard work was a value instilled in us and there was no room for laziness. I will forever fondly remember how we would take shifts sleeping as one of us researched and practiced while alternating. We learnt to balance our academics and the moot, which was challenging but extremely rewarding. I can confidently say that none of us would change a thing about the experience.
The competition presented us with an opportunity to see first-hand the realistic and complicated barriers facing the attainment of international justice through presenting challenging hypothetical moot questions. Our oratory skills, patience and persuasion were harnessed as Judges asked tough but relevant questions pertaining to the responsibility of the court in relation to all parties. We got the chance to interact with the most brilliant minds in international criminal justice and conversed over the controversial barriers presented in the hypothetical and beyond, towards the attainment of justice for all. It was great to be part of the final round of the moot, which was adjudicated by: Judge Rosario Salvatore Aitala, a judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC); Hon. Justice Daniel Musinga, President of the Court of Appeal; Prof. Githu Muigai, Senior Counsel (AG Emeritus); Hon. Lady Justice Grace Ngenye, Chairperson of National Committee on Criminal Justice Reforms; Mr. Hillary Kiboro, Legal Counsel for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); and our very own Mr. Cecil Abungu, Strathmore Law School.
Most important and lastly, our passion to learn and implement our skills and knowledge to end impunity for all perpetrators has grown stronger, and we will remain on course undeterred towards this aim.
Cheers to the Moi University School of Law for the well-deserved win. They gave us a good run.
We look forward to the 3rd Edition in 2024!
This article was written by Kitonga Mulandi.
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