Moot Court Kicks Off
The 22nd African Human Rights Moot Court Competition kicked off amidst much fanfare from the participants, representing over 50 African countries, on Monday 2 September 2013.
Organised by the Human Rights Centre (HRC) at the University of Pretoria (UP) and hosted by the University of the Western Cape (UWC), this year’s Moot competition was officially opened by the Mayor of the City of Cape Town, Alderman Patricia De Lille, in a packed City Hall.
During the competition the students teams of two each will argue a hypothetical case (The Government of Kalaharia and Children of Africa Now!) based on the instruments of the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights. Cases will be argued case before a bench of tried and tested judges in French, English and Portuguese, and the winners of each language group will meet in the finals on Saturday 7 September..
Professor Ramesh Bharuthram, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at UWC, said he is proud that the Moot is being held at the University, relating the history of UWC in relation to the struggle for human rights in South Africa for the students and professors in attendance.
He told the students that they are all winners, regardless of the outcome of the competition.“Through students like you, we resisted oppression through our academic endeavours. As a collective, you are the future of our continent,” said Bharuthram.
Mayor De Lille, also welcomed the visiting students and professors and told them that their chosen line of study is significant for the advancement of human rights and freedoms. She noted that South Africa has one of the most progressive Constitutions and Bill of Rights in the world - but the real challenge, she said, is to make it a “living document”.
“It is your duty to advance human rights on the continent. Law is a living thing which adapts with time. Give meaning to it by championing human rights and fighting for equality before the law,” said the Mayor.
Norman Taku of the HRC reminded the participants that they were joining the more than 10 000 other legal practitioners who have gone through the Moot Court Competition. “We are changing our continent one lawyer at a time,” said Taku.
The competition will conclude this weekend with a conference, as is Moot tradition. Participants at this year’s conference, titled “Constitution-Building in Africa”,will include high profile role-players such as Sydney Mufamadi, Roelf Meyer, Valli Moosa and Prof Yash Ghai.
The Conference will be held on Friday 6 September 2013 at the Great Hall at UWC..