On July 8th and 9th, ICU students led by Assistant Professor of Law Hiromichi Matsuda competed in the 28th International Law Moot Court Competition Japan Cup in Yoyogi, Tokyo. Professor Matsuda was awarded a grant of ¥681,000 last year to help fund his students’ participation in a series of competitions, beginning with the 12th Space Law Moot Court Competition which took place in March and culminating in the Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition currently being held at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva.
The Japan Cup was organized by the International Law Student Exchange Council (ILSEC), and the topic was “Case Concerning the Challenger (Amber vs Ratvan).” Teams of undergraduate students from 16 universities participated. ICU was represented by junior students Toshiki Narushima and Yoshihiro Yagi. They were awarded the “Participating University Introduction Award.”
Here is what Professor Matsuda had to say about the experience:
“This year’s Japan Cup was as competitive as ever with the participation of an unprecedented number of universities. While leading teams have had thorough preparation in law faculty seminars and legal circles with 10 to 30 members, the ICU team of just two students fought valiantly. Experts in the field such as university professors, diplomats and international lawyers who played the role of judge praised the ICU team for their strong performance. At the awards ceremony, the team was presented with the “Participating University Introduction Award” for having written an appealing introduction of ICU with an excellent sense of humor.
Moot court has gained global attention as an educational method based on rigorous active learning. During class, students first learn how to construct a legal argument and research academic materials as well as the basics of international law. Then they must research a vast collection of materials and create a legal document regarding a difficult issue that could actually occur in the international community. The ICU team will represent Asia in the Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva in late July. It will also aim to participate in the International Humanitarian Law Moot Court Competition in December through the ICU Graduate School course “Law and Peace.” It is my hope that ICU students will eventually contribute to the peaceful resolution of international conflicts using the ability to learn spontaneously which they have acquired through moot court activity.”
The students, Toshiki Narushima and Yoshihiro Yagi shared the following comments.
“This was my second opportunity to participate in a moot court competition, the first being the space law competition. The biggest difference was the number of clauses. The Outer Space Treaty has only 17 clauses, whereas the Convention of the Law of the Sea has more than 300. For this reason, it was very difficult to determine which clause was going to be the focus of the argument. In addition, because Professor Matsuda was busy with his general education class, we struggled to put into writing the legal validity of our argument and coordinate the different opinions within the team. On the other hand, I was able to learn about both the basic issues and most recent developments in international law in fields such as the Law of the Sea, the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and crimes against humanity. In the future, I would like to participate in competitions conducted in English.
“I participated in this competition to deepen my knowledge of international law. In preparation, I studied numerous sources and legal precedents and held discussions with my team mates. During the competition, the judges threw many questions at us and we struggled to answer at times, but the experience was both challenging and enjoyable. It was also inspiring to hear the arguments made by the teams from other universities. By listening to others, I learned different debating methods. I would like to make the most of the knowledge and research skills that I gained through participation in this competition.”
Congratulations to Professor Matsuda and the ICU team! Good luck in Geneva!