The 27th edition of the African Human Rights Moot Court Competition has been launched in Accra for African Human Rights Law students.
The all-African human rights competition which is held every year would be hosted by the University of Ghana (UG), Legon, in August 2018, making it the second time the university is hosting the forum.
Dean for the School of Law at the University of Ghana, Professor Kofi Quashigah, during the launching said: the Human Rights Moot Court competition serves as a platform where African law students discuss and debate current human rights issues.
According to him, the competition has the objective of inculcating in the students, at an early stage, the interest in human rights; the competition has also become a beacon of human rights for students in their respective countries.
Prof Quashigah said the competition which started as an initiative in Human Rights Centre of the University of Pretoria, South Africa, was initially limited to countries of the Southern Africa Region.
He said: “Since 1996 when the Moot court was transformed from Southern Africa Regional Programme into an all-African programme, the University of Ghana team has never failed to be represented. Indeed the University Of Ghana School Of Law has won a number of such events including the 2017 competition which was held last October in Mauritius.”
Prof Quashigah said Ghana has had the privilege of hosting Moot court in 2000 in Accra where Ghana won as well.
He said apart from the Moot court’s educational value, it would also open up the country to students and lecturers from all over Africa.
Director, Centre for Human Rights University of Pretoria, South Africa, Prof Frans Viljoen, said the Moot competition is an avenue where new generation of lawyers would be raised, stressing that Ghana must be commended for being one of the few countries to be associated with the Moot competition on the continent.
Vice-Chancellor of UG, Prof Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, said the university fully supported the decision to host the 2018 Moot competition, adding that “We at the University of Ghana do appreciate the importance of exposure of students to the real world outside the lecture rooms and I believe that the all African Human Rights competition which has been regularly organised for a decade would provide one such opportunity for students to debate on important human rights concerns affecting the continent.”
He therefore, pledged the university’s assistance towards the facilitation of a smooth Moot Court programme next year.
The competition is expected to bring into the country students and lecturers form over 75 law faculties from all over Africa.
The one-week programme would see students engaging in advocacy with each other at the preliminary stages, and at the end, the final Moot session would be held to determine winners.
A memorandum of understanding was signed between UG and the Centre of Human Rights University of Pretoria, South Africa to commence the execution plans towards the organisation of the 2018 all African Human Rights Moot Court Competition.
Ms Keziah Hillary Engmann and Ms Aniela Allotey all level 300 students at the Human Rights Center of the University of Ghana would be representing Ghana in next year’s competition.
The African Human Rights Moot Court Competition is an international moot court competition with a special focus on human rights in Africa. The competition is organised by the Centre for Human Rights, based at the University Of Pretoria Faculty Of Law in South Africa.
Each year, the competition is hosted by a Law Faculty from a different African country.
Since its inception in 1992, the competition has had 845 participant teams originating from 125 universities from 45 African countries.
The competition is tri-lingual and preliminary rounds are argued in English, French and Portuguese where students argue a hypothetical human rights case and base their arguments on the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
The final round is argued by two teams made up of the best three Anglophone teams, two Francophone teams and one Lusophone team and the final round is judged by prominent African and international jurists where the winner emerges.