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The Experience that was – ICC Moot Court Competition, 2017

(L-R) Mariah Mumbi, Salma Khamala, Roy Kitur (back) and Allan Mukuki at the Hague

Every year, the Grotius Center for International Legal Studies in The Hague, Netherlands participates in the organization of one of the largest and most prestigious competitions in the world that sees scores of university undergraduate students, Masters Students and young professionals congregate in the Legal Capital of the world. The ICC Moot Court Competition this year was hosted by Leiden University, The Hague Campus, from 14th to 19th of May.

First, we had to compete internally in Strathmore Law School (SLS). There were judges that were outsourced to listen to our oral submissions one Friday afternoon while grading us, after which the three of us (Salma Khamala – in the 2017 Graduating Class, Mariah Mumbi – in the 2017 Graduating Class and Roy Kitur, joining 4th Year in July) were shortlisted as the team to represent the Law School.

Nationally, we competed by means of a written submission after a legal problem was sent to us; we had a few weeks to prepare our arguments and compile a final submission that we sent to the organizers in The Hague. Two weeks later, we received the good news that we had made it to the international rounds.

For Mariah and I (Salma), this was the first international moot court competition to participate in, unlike for Roy who also competed in the All Africa Moot Competition in Zambia. Nevertheless, the preparation was gruesome. We had meetings every day of the week from 5pm where we conducted research that was never-ending up to the very last minute. Numerous sacrifices were made especially since Mariah and I were final year students and at the stage of completing our dissertations, while all three of us had final year exams in March. Regardless, with excellent teamwork, camaraderie, encouragement from our coach – Allan Mukuki, and respect for one another’s time, we were able to organize ourselves and always made it work.

Despite the fact that we did not make it to the final round, the opportunity to submit before renowned academics and practitioners in the field of International Criminal Law, as well as competing against, and interacting with students globally was invaluable. Being one of the only three African institutions represented was also an achievement in its own respect. It was all worth the 9 months of preparations we went through from September 2016.

The trio encouraged other students in law school to take up any opportunity to moot as it opens their minds and provides a myriad of opportunities to further themselves professionally and academically.

They attribute their success to hard work, persistence and team work.

Article by Salma