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Lebanon Moot Court Competition Builds Law Students’ Practical Skills

Organizers and participants in the ABA ROLI moot court competition held at La Sagesse University.

October 2007

 As part of the Human Rights Clinical Legal Education project with La Sagesse University Faculty of Law in Beirut, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative held a moot court competition for twelve fourth-year law students on August 30 and 31, 2007. Students were selected to take part in the competition based on their academic performance in a final-year International Humanitarian Law course and in a legal writing and advocacy skills workshop conducted by ABA ROLI and hosted by La Sagesse University in April, 2007.

The ABA Rule of Law Initiative partners with La Sagesse University Law Faculty to develop the clinical program as a way to introduce practical skills and international human rights training into the law school curriculum.  It is the first program of its kind in Lebanon, and one of only a few in the Middle East and North Africa.  As part of that program, the competition simulated a real courtroom experience, building the students’ practical skills as future lawyers, and preparing students for regional and international moot court competitions.

Students acted either as prosecutor or defense counsel for a fictitious defendant in a simulated International Criminal Court proceeding involving violations of the Rome Statute.  Each team of two students had approximately 45 minutes to present their arguments, which were evaluated by a panel of judges including: the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Maroun Boustany; Judge Hatem Madi, Deputy Attorney General; Judge Marleine El Jorr, Appellate Court Judge; Dr Nidal Jurdi, UNOCHR National Officer for Human Rights and; Mr. Karim Mufti, expert in International Humanitarian Law.

Students were awarded prizes for first place (Tony Ayrouth and Tina Nasrallah), best orator (Abdel Aziz Saad), special mention (Wassim Zeineddine), and best teamwork (Vanessa Breidy).