The 25th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition was organised by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria in collaboration with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and The University of The Gambia from 3 to 8 October 2016 in Pretoria, South Africa. The Moot Court Competition aims to advance the cause of human rights in Africa by providing an opportunity to law students from across the continent to prepare and argue a hypothetical case before human rights experts. The issues being argued this year include: The legality of withdrawal from the African court’s jurisdiction by African states; Conditions of detention; Freedom of association; and Gender and human rights of women.
Two students of the Faculty of Law had the opportunity of witnessing a life changing experience at this year’s moot. Our team consisted of Daniel Olika Godson and Rahman Apalara, both 400 level students and Dr Akinola Akintayo as the Faculty Representative. The 25th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition attracted law students from 59 universities cutting across Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone speaking African countries.
The Preliminary rounds kicked off on Tuesday 4th of October 2016. Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone participants argued separately and we were judged based on our knowledge of the facts, application of law – particularly African human rights law, articulation, analysis, persuasiveness, ability to respond to questions and oratory skills. The Judges were really impressed by the strength of our submissions.
As part of the Human Rights Competition, we had the privilege of attending a special conference in commemoration of the 30 years since the entry into force of the African Charter, 10 years since the African Court became operational and 30 years of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. The conference was divided into five sessions and conducted in English, French and Portuguese. The Conference commenced with opening remarks by the Director of the Centre for Human Rights, Prof Frans Viljoen. This was followed by presentations on the ‘Reflections on the work of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ by Prof Barney Pityana (former member of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights), AdvTom Nyanduga, (chairperson, Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance, Tanzania and former member of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights)and Hon. Mumba Malila (Judge of the Supreme Court of Zambia and former member of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights).
We would like to express our deepest and sincerest gratitude to the Dean, Faculty of Law for allowing us the privilege of representing the Faculty of First Choice in the University of First Choice. We also appreciate the unrelenting support received from the members of Staff in the months leading to the Competition especially Dr Iyabode Ogunniran, our Staff Adviser and Mr Ibrahim Obadina. We would like to specially thank Dr Akinola Akintayo, the Faculty Representative for the trip. Our success at the Competition would have been impossible without him.
The Team is also grateful to all the Advocates of the Mooting Society who participated in the training and research process and for proving that water can be just as thick as blood. The support received all through our preparation was overwhelming.
Although we did not make it to the Final Rounds, 2016 is arguably our best outing at the African Moot in recent times. The University of Lagos emerged as the 6th Best English Speaking Team in the preliminary rounds. We were also the Best West African Team and by virtue of that fact, we qualify for the Commonwealth Moot which is billed to hold in Melbourne, Austrailia in March 2017. The Faculty was also recognised for having the Third Best Written Memorials. (http://www.chr.up.ac.za/index.php/moot-court-2016/moot-court-2016-day-6.html)
At the closing ceremony, it was announced that the next edition of the competition series will take place in Mauritius, July 2017.