Ref: 04/2015 

On Monday, 09 February 2015, the Palestinian
Center for Human Rights (PCHR) inaugurated the International Criminal Law Moot
Court Competition Project. The Moot Court Competition is the third of its kind
in the Gaza Strip. It is implemented by PCHR and funded by Cooperation
Foundation, with participation of the Palestine Bar Association.


The inauguration ceremony held in Fayez Abu
Rahma’s Hall in the Bar Association was attended by a group of lawyers,
academics, interested persons, journalists and the partner organization.


The Moot Court project offers high quality
legal training to 30 lawyers-in-training registered at the Bar Association,
tackling a variety of topics in international humanitarian law, international
criminal law and human rights. Each group of the lawyers is coached by an
expert of law.  The three coaches provide
the students with a basis in international law theory and practice by holding
weekly lectures and training sessions throughout 5 months. Additionally,
visiting international legal experts will come to provide training in their
field of expertise related to international humanitarian law and criminal law.


The ceremony was opened with a speech by Dr.
Riyadh al-Za’noun, Chairman of PCHR’s Board of Directors, who stressed that the
ountdown started for Palestine to join the International Criminal Court (ICC)
and this means the legal battle for our just cause has started to last and to
triumph. Therefore, we need on the strategic level a group of competent lawyers
who have knowledge of the international law, international criminal law and
high legal skills to confront the occupying power before the international
courts. This is what the project will come up with.


Mr. Salama Bseiso, Vice President of the
Palestine Bar Association, delivered a speech, in which he highlighted that
there are legal battles that should be launched by lawyers to confront the
occupying power that shows disregard for any international laws and publically
commits crimes and arbitrary violations against the Palestinian people. Thus, we
as lawyers have to prepare a generation to prosecute the occupying power
through the ICC and international criminal law. This generation will be
prepared by the effort of competent coaches in this project, which will create
a group of lawyers fighting the occupying power before international courts.


In his speech, lawyer Ibrahim Sourani, PCHR’s
coordinator of the project, addressed PCHR’s expertise in this field by
implementing the International Criminal Law Moot Court project in 2012 and 2013
respectively, with participation of students of law faculties in the
Palestinian universities. A documentary on the 2013 Competition was displayed.
Sourani stressed that such competitions contribute to enhancing skills and
raising legal awareness of Palestinian lawyers by creating a legal generation
that has the knowledge and understanding of international legal concepts.


It should be noted that following the intense
training period the International Criminal Law Moot Court Competition is to be
held in June 2015. In the Competition, the participating lawyers will represent
the parties of the Prosecutor and Defense in a simulated trial of a fictional
case before an international tribunal, namely the International Criminal Court.
During the Competition, the lawyers will be given the opportunity to present
their oral and written pleadings before a jury, which will be composed of
esteemed judges who are experts in international humanitarian law and
international criminal law.