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Students from La Sagesse University in Beirut present their legal arguments during the Moot Court Competition
In late October, La Sagesse University in Beirut, Lebanon, held its second annual moot court competition. Participants included 11 fourth-year law students who acted as either prosecutor or defense counsel for a fictitious defendant in a simulated International Criminal Court proceeding. The simulated proceeding raised complex issues, such as admissibility of the case in view of an earlier amnesty decision and the applicability of the doctrine of command responsibility.
The students’ legal arguments were heard by a panel of judges, including the deputy attorney general of the Lebanese Supreme Court, judges from the Court of Appeal and Ministry of Justice, a representative of the International Center for Transitional Justice and a La Sagesse University human rights professor. Commenting on the arguments, one judge remarked that the competition provided an opportunity for the students to acquire and practice legal skills that are not emphasized during the four-year law curriculum.
A student who participated in the moot court competition stated that the competition made her feel like a real lawyer and, though she hasn’t taken the bar exam yet, the event renewed her interest in becoming a lawyer. The competition was the culmination of several months of preparation by the students, which included a three-day legal writing and advocacy skills training in July. The training was conducted by a legal education specialist from ABA ROLI’s Jordan program.
Also in attendance were the president and faculty members of La Sagesse University, representatives of the Beirut Bar Association, members of Lebanese and international non-governmental organizations, current law students and recent graduates.
Following the competition, the law school dean and the ABA ROLI Lebanon country director distributed certificates to all participants, with special certificates and prizes awarded for first and second place, best orator, best advocate and outstanding teamwork.
ABA ROLI has been collaborating with La Sagesse University and supporting training and competition programs since January 2007. This collaboration has resulted in the establishment of Lebanon’s first clinical legal education program within the university’s Faculty of Law, which introduces practical legal skills and international human rights training into the law school curriculum.
For more information about our work in Lebanon, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at <email@example.com>.