Strathmore University’s Stellar Performance at the ICC Moot Court Competition


In the historic and solemn halls of ICC Courtroom II in The Hague, a beacon of intellectual prowess and legal acumen shone brightly. A team from Strathmore University made their indelible mark on the 11th Edition of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Moot Court Competition, English version, June 7, 2024.  

Against the backdrop of intense global competition, the team, comprising Albert Macharia, Michelle Adika, and Johny Kitheka, and expertly coached by Eugene Kanyugo, Strathmore Law School #ClassOf2021 alumni and Allan Mukuki, delivered a performance that captivated the judges and viewers alike, securing the 1st Runners-Up Team. Albert Macharia further distinguished himself by clinching the coveted award of Best Overall Speaker in the Finals.

Organized by the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies – Leiden University and the International Bar Association, this iteration of the ICC Moot Court Competition saw the participation of 93 teams from 47 countries. 

These teams showcased their legal expertise on a fictitious case, engaging in intense oral arguments in the roles of the Office of the Prosecutor, the Defence, and the Legal Representatives of Victims. The proceedings, broadcast live on the Court’s website and Facebook page, drew international attention and admiration.

“According to the rules of the ICC Moot Court Competition, deliberations are conducted to assess each participating team based on the following criteria: knowledge of facts and legal principles, articulate analysis of the issues, use of authorities and citations, ingenuity and clarity, persuasiveness, logic, and presentation,” said ICC Judge Althea Violet Alexis-Windsor, Presiding.

Strathmore University made history as the first African team to compete at the finals and its journey was marked by a series of remarkable achievements. In the preliminary rounds, Michelle Adika was recognized as the 2nd Runners-up Victims Counsel, while Johny Kitheka earned the title of 1st Runners-up Defence Counsel. The team also received accolades as the Best Regional Team (Africa) and secured the position of 2nd Runner-Up Best Defence Counsel Team.

Sharing his experience about the competition, Albert Macharia leaned to the famous speech of Theodore Roosevelt ‘Man in the Arena’ saying “The IBA ICC Moot is the pinnacle of moots in the field of International Criminal Law. Being part of the team was intimidating, especially as no African team had ever reached the advanced rounds, let alone the finals. We faced a steep mountain, but alongside my co-counsels, Mr. Johnny Kitheka and Mrs. Michelle Adika, we held a firm conviction. Like the man in the arena, we vowed to fight for glory or face defeat with honor.”

Eugene Kanyugo is proud of his team’s effort in The Hague in the Netherlands and glad he was part of their journey in the 11th Edition of the competition. 

“Coaching a moot team is quite like coaching a sport. It’s about helping the team research, strategize, and anticipate every possible challenge like a rigorous drill. It’s nurturing flexibility, adaptability, and confidence for the actual rounds. The trio can attest to this. They seized every opportunity, leveraging hard-earned skills from training, and rebounded with confidence when they stumbled. It paid off magnificently,” attests Eugene.

Johny Kitheka struggled to find the words to describe his experience at the competition. According to him, the team had to embody the essence of teamwork, and he was pushed to his intellectual and interpersonal limits.

“Attempting to reduce my experience at the ICC Moot competition into words will be tough. Our journey to the ICC was not just about competing; it was about making history and showcasing the power of dedication, teamwork, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. Our achievements extended beyond tangible results, forging a sense of togetherness and understanding that was missing when the team was first formed,” said Johny.

The competition, a cornerstone of the ICC’s Academic Programme, is held in multiple languages including Chinese, English, French, and Spanish, with plans to introduce an Arabic version in the future. These initiatives are pivotal in fostering a deep interest in the ICC’s work within academic circles and in promoting the principles of international criminal law.

Strathmore University’s stellar performance at this esteemed competition not only underscores their legal acumen but also highlights the vital role of academic institutions in shaping the future of international law and justice.

Article written by: Stephen Wakhu

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