With UN backing, Afghan students prep to compete in global law challenge

28 Feb 2017

With UN backing, Afghan students prep to compete in global law challenge

MAZAR-E SHARIF - A team of bright young law students from Balkh, fresh from winning Afghanistan’s national law championship award, will represent the country in April at the annual Philip C. Jessup Law Moot Court Competition in Washington DC.

To help the law students prepare for the competition, the regional office of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) organized a moot court event for Mazar’s team to receive coaching and feedback from UNAMA’s Rule of Law officers.

Jessup is the world's largest moot court competition, with participants coming from more than 550 law schools and nearly 100 countries. The competition is a simulation of a fictional dispute argued before the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the United Nations.

As part of the challenge, teams must prepare oral and written pleadings, arguing both the applicant and respondent positions of the case.

“To me, the Jessup program itself is a university, a great experience, an opportunity, a special and valuable deal in international law,” said Sayed Essa Sanglakhee, one of members of the Mazar team, expressing appreciation for UNAMA’s coaching and feedback.

The event was not the first time UNAMA’s Mazar office has helped prep Jessup teams. In 2009, UNAMA conducted a similar programme. Tamana Noor, one of the UNAMA-supported participants in 2009, is now a lecturer at the College of Law and Political Science in Balkh University.

“It was a dream coming true,” said Noor. “I represented my country in a prestigious competition, and upon return I was received very well by family and friends, and received letters of appreciation, including one from the provincial governor himself.”

UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and the people of Afghanistan as a political mission that provides 'good offices' among other key services. 'Good offices' are diplomatic steps UN takes publicly and in private, drawing on its independence, impartiality and integrity, to prevent international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading.

UNAMA also promotes coherent development support by the international community; assists the process of peace and reconciliation; monitors and promotes human rights and the protection of civilians in armed conflict; promotes good governance; and encourages regional cooperation.