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Law Students Ivy and Salma Intern at the ICTY in the Netherlands

21 year olds’ Ivy Kinyanjui and Salma Khamala, 3rd Year Strathmore Law School students recently experienced a once in a lifetime opportunity, through interning at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) as a reward for their outstanding performance during a Moot Court competition at the school.

The Pair who won 1st runners-up at the end of the competition summed up the experience as an eye-opening, practical way of familiarizing what they learnt in theory through hands-on proceedings. They were privileged to intern for the immediate office of the prosecutor.

“The experience was really good, and the people were really warm. I was feeling alive during this period because this is the kind of job I want to be involved with in the future. It was so good to also see the time put into making their cases, they would work from very early in the morning to very late in the evening to make good cases. You could see the sensitivity of each role, such that as interns for prosecutors we could not be hanging out with the defense interns. They even ensured we were not living in the same area,” said Salma.

While Ivy summarized her legal experience as “an eye-opener; we had the chance of sitting in during a court process and the prosecutors we worked with in the offices, were the same prosecutors for the case. The prosecutors were so passionate about their work it really taught me a lot; you could see the fruits of their labor in the office paying off in the courtrooms.”

The Internship Tasks

The team was given an assignment by their supervisor, the legal advisor to the Chief Prosecutor Kevin Hughes, on a former case. They were expected to conduct a case digest that would analyze how the International Law case was carried out, tease out the issues that were being discussed, learn how the prosecution argued their side and how the defense counter-acted their argument, and finally examine how the judgment was made.

The benefits of conducting this assignment included;

  1. Seeing their coursework being applied in an actual case.
  2. Learning the art of producing good arguments, seeing as the defense in this case really had a good argument
  3. The opportunity to analyze a case which in itself was peculiar as it set a lot of precedence in the criminal law; this case influenced the Rome statute when the ICC was being established.

The competition

To be selected as 1st runners up, the pair stood out during the moot court competition impressing judges Chief Justice Dr. Willy Mutunga and the Chief Prosecutor ICTY Serge Brammertz.  The competition involved teams/firms applying real law on a hypothetical question from a topic taught in class by Chief prosecutor Serge. As the competition progressed, the firms were trimmed leaving Ivy and Salma and the winning pair to battle it out.

The winners will intern at the ICTY during the long holidays in March of this year.

 “There is so much opportunity available at Strathmore Law School and it is in the hardwork; in the work that has to be put in to produce good results, even in the smallest of cases.” Ivy.

Ivy loves reading and is excited to finish her undergraduate so that she can start her masters in law. Her passion lies in becoming an advocate for public international law and humanitarian law. Ivy is also writing a paper that should be presented in Rome this year.

“The passion one has will set them apart; I was passionate about doing moots so that I could get my arguments rights and it paid off.” Salma.

Salma has a passion for speaking; a trait that makes her a good debater and always sets her apart. Her desire is to join Kenya School of Law and eventually become an international advocate once she completes her undergraduate degree.