The combined team of the law schools of the Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Cocody, Côte d’Ivoire, and Kenyatta University, Kenya, appearing as the applicants, emerged as the winners of the 30th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition, held on 24 September 2021 at Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Law. The runner-up is the combined team of Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Mozambique, and Stellenbosch University.
This year’s African Human Rights Moot Court Competition was hosted by the Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Law. The event coincided with the 100-year celebration of the Faculty of Law, and 35 years since the founding of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. The Centre annually co-organises the Moot together with a faculty of law at an African university. Over its 30-year history, the African Moot Court Competition has taken place in 19 different African countries, with 175 universities participating. One university – Université Assane Seck, Zuiganchor, Senegal, participated for the first time in 2021
Eminent personalities and jurists served as judges in the final round. The Bench was chaired by Professor Thuli Madonsela, previous South African Public Protector. The panel comprised a representative from each of the three African Union bodies: Dr Solomon Dersso, Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Justice Angelo Matusse, previously a Judge of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights; and Dr Robert Nanima, member of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. Professor Laurence Burgorgue-Larsen, who teaches international law at the Sorbonne University in Paris, and who is a Judge of the Constitutional Court of Andorra, was the fifth Judge on the panel.
The presiding Judges remarked that the students in the final displayed great dexterity demonstrated incredible technique of persuasion and ability to think on one’s feet in answering judges’ questions. Professor Madonsela expressed her faith in the youth of our continent, based on the performance of the finalist teams.
Members of the winning team each received MacBooks, and the runners-up iPads.
Martin Kioko Munyoto and Sidney Tambasi
Following online preliminary rounds earlier in the year, 14 African Universities proceeded to the quarter and semi-final rounds. After the semi-final round, Kenyatta University and Stellenbosch University advanced to the final as the best anglophone teams; and Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny and Eduardo Mondlane as the best French-language and Portuguese-language teams, respectively. The hypothetical case being argued focused on sexual and gender-based violence, child rights and rights of sexual minorities.
Professor Nicola Smit, Dean of the Stellenbosch Faculty of Law, underlined that the hosting of the Moot as part of the Faculty’s centenary celebrations showed its commitment to support an inclusive, progressive and transformative legal culture.
During his remarks, Prof Frans Viljoen, Director of the Centre for Human Rights, congratulated the local organising committee for hosting a brilliant Moot Court Competition, despite the numerous challenges presented by COVID-19. He paid tribute, in particular, to Professor Annika Rudman, whose dedication, professionalism and adjustability as the head of the local organising committee ensured the resounding success of the 2021 Moot Competition. He also celebrated the gigantic contribution and endless devotion of the Centre’s Moot Coordinator, Sayaad Ahmed, and the rest of the Centre team.
Prof Frans Viljoen, Director of the Centre for Human Rights
Renaming of Moot Competition
The Moot Court Competition will in future be known as the ‘Christof Heyns African Human Rights Moot Court Competition’. Professor Tawana Kupe, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria, who presided over the renaming, explained that the renaming was in
“memory and recognition of Christof’s role the as the Moot’s founding father and sustaining driving force over many decades”.
Professor Heyns, internationally renowned human rights lawyer, a legal educator and founding father of the African Moot Court Competition passed away in March this year while hiking in the mountains just outside Stellenbosch.
Professor Tawana Kupe, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria
Preliminary round awards
During the final round, the following prize winners of the preliminary rounds were also announced:
Best memorials during Portuguese-language preliminary rounds
- Universidade Eduardo Mondlane
Best memorials during French-language preliminary rounds
- Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny
- Université Virtuelle du Senegal
Best memorials during English-language preliminary rounds
- Africa Nazarene University
- University of Pretoria
- Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
Best oralist during Portuguese-language during preliminary rounds
- Sra Idanes Pessuro (Universidade Eduardo Mondlane)
Best oralist during French language preliminary rounds
- Nanlehe Coulibaly (Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny
- Cheickna Sylla (Institut Universitaire d’Abidjan, Senegal)
- N’guessan Kouame (Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny)
Best oralist during English-language preliminary rounds
- Dorcas Ameonu (University of Ghana)
- Lazola Nomkala (University of the Western Cape)
- Mweyongyere Kabasinguzi (Makerere)
International Hybrid Conference
The Centre for Human Rights and the Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Law acknowledge and thank the funding partners for the 2021 African Moot Competition: the Government of the Flanders, the European Union (as part of its support to the Global Campus of Human Rights), Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Raoul Wallenberg Institute, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Lexis-Nexis, the law firm Baker Mckenzie, Stellenbosch University, and the University of Pretoria (through the Centre for Human Rights)
From the Cape back to Cairo in 2022
In 2022 the Moot Court Competition returns to Egypt, Cairo, where it was hosted back in 2002. The 2022 edition, flying for the first time under the flag of the Christof Heyns African Human Rights Moot Court Competition, is to be hosted by the British University in Egypt from 25 to 30 July 2022.
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