A team of three students from the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) last week did the country proud when it won the 2011 Pan-African Moot Court Competition on international humanitarian law (IHL), beating 10 teams from seven other countries in Africa.
The aim of the week-long competition, in Arusha, Tanzania, from November 12 to 19 and sponsored by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), was to cultivate interest in IHL among students and academic institutions in Africa.
Other countries which took place in the competition are Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.
In the final round, in one of the trial chambers of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) before a panel of five judges from the ICRC, Kenya’s Egerton University took second place.
“The competition was very close, with both teams displaying tenacity and putting forth arguments of impressive quality,’’ said Judge Seon-Ki Park of the ICTR.
The prize for best speaker at the finals went to Zimbabwe’s Taona Nyamakura, who, as part of his package, will undergo a three-month internship at the ICTR, courtesy of the humanitarian organisation.
Park said of the brilliant law student: “Taona demonstrated an exceptional ability to respond to the judges’ questions.”
Nyamakura captained the UZ team that included Tinashe Tanyanyiwa and Tapiwa Mari.
Respective UZ teams have performed well in past competitions, winning in 2007 and 2009 while the 2010 team came second.
The UZ won the right to represent Zimbabwe in the Pan-African competition after they successfully defended their title at the National IHL Moot Court competition against Midlands State University in October this year.
The moot court competition is one of many initiatives undertaken by the ICRC with the aim of raising awareness and promoting compliance with international humanitarian law.