By Susy Prochazka
From March 1st to March 4th, the Moot Court Honor Society’s Jessup team participated in the 53rd Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition in Portland, Oregon. Over 30 law schools competed at this regional round of the prestigious international law moot court competition.
The Jessup Competition occurs on an international scale, with dozens of nations holding regional competitions, with the World Finals taking place in Washington D.C. in April 2012.
TJSL’s competitors were Ashok Pathi, Elizabeth Knowles, Jesse Allen, Susy Prochazka, and David Meyer. The 50-page fact pattern, or Compromis, presented multiple complex issues of international law, humanitarian law, and human rights law issues in the context of a conflict between two States involving a humanitarian intervention and subsequent damage to a World Heritage religious temple complex.
Over a 3-month period, the Jessup team researched the tangle of international law problems and produced two 60-page briefs, or Memorials, that addressed four distinct issues: (1) the matter of standing, jurisdiction, and recognition in the International Court of Justice; (2) the legality of the use of force in the context of airstrikes conducted for alleged humanitarian purposes; (3) the proper exercise of jurisdiction in allowing one State’s citizens to recover against another State for past human rights abuses; and (4) the legal implications of deliberately damaging a religious temple that is considered a World Heritage site. Each main issue was rife with sub-issues and contentious areas of dispute, and the Jessup team worked hard to narrow the discussion while addressing all the relevant areas of law.
Once the Memorials were submitted in early January, the Jessup team turned its attention to the oral arguments. The team worked closely with Professor Knowles and Professor Slomanson, both experienced in the fields of international law and international humanitarian law, to learn the nuanced standards of advocacy that are unique to the International Court of Justice. Four team members focused on crafting oral arguments while one member acted as a coach and general adviser on international law. After 3 months of meetings, practices, and rehearsals, the Jessup team competed in the 53rd Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition at Lewis & Clark Law School, winning oral rounds against University of Oregon and Whittier College in front of the mock International Court of Justice.