Celebrating 25 Years of the Inter-American Moot Court Competition: an ongoing commitment to training new generations of lawyers on human rights law

This week the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law is proud to celebrate 25 years of the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition. The Competition is a unique trilingual (English, Spanish and Portuguese) event designed to enlighten and instruct students and legal practitioners on how to utilize the Inter-American System to tackle human rights abuses. From its inception in 1996 until to date, the Competition has evolved to become a global forum for scholarly engagement on frontline human rights issues in the Americas and beyond. Over the past 25 years the Competition has featured more than 4800 participants from over 50 countries, across 360 Universities.

The Competition is hosted by American University Washington College of Law (AU WCL), an institution with strong ties to the Inter-American Human Rights System, and was founded by Dean Claudio Grossman and implemented by Professors Claudia Martin and Diego Rodriguez-Pinzon, Academy’s Co-Directors. With 4 former Presidents of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, a former Ad Hoc Judge of the Inter-American Court and lawyers who worked at the Commission’s Secretariat or as litigators in the faculty, AU WCL has greatly contributed to shape the work of the System and promote its values for more than three decades. The Competition has been co-sponsored by the Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights.

Despite the fact that during this 25th celebration some aspects of the Competition have changed to take form virtually, our commitment to encouraging opportunities for law students from across the Americas and the globe to gain expertise in the Inter-American Human Rights System continues during the ongoing crisis. The commitment of all participants: team members, coaches, judges, observers, and bailiffs to make the 2020 Competition and 25th Anniversary of the Competition a truly special event, continues even in uncertain circumstances. Now is the time more than ever to use new platforms and to bring together students and human rights advocates to continue to discuss the most pressing human rights issues for our time.

The theme for the 25th celebration of the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition is “Rule of Law and Human Rights: Strengthening Democratic Institutions” and speaks to the challenges democratic institutions in Latin American face as a result of authoritarian policies and practices and how international law can address these issues using the human rights system. The hypothetical case was written by Katya Salazar and Ursula Indacochea, Executive Director and Head of the Judicial Independence Program respectively, at the Due Process of Law Foundation.

Over the past 25 years, the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition has brought together human rights advocates from the United Nations, Amnesty International, the Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), Dejusticia and the Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS) amongst other notable organizations as judges, observers and hypothetical case authors.

The history of the past 25 Competitions from 1996 to 2020 including the various cases that were created for the Competition, hypothetical case authors, the honor panel of judges, as well as the winning university teams from each year, can be accessed here. Also, all the virtual activities organized to celebrate this milestone are available here. The Closing Ceremony hosting a public panel with the Presidents of the Commission and Court, Joel Hernandez and Elizabeth Odio Benito, moderated by Professor Claudio Grossman is open for registration here.

Congratulations and thank you to all who have participated during these 25 years! Through your commitment you have helped this Competition to truly become an inspiration for future lawyers to be better members of the legal profession and committed citizens in the local and global communities to which they belong.

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