The war crimes brief

The judges included Benjamin Ferencz, the U.S. prosecutor at the post-World War II Nuremberg war crimes trials, and Peggy Kuo, legal officer for the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. The case before them: alleged war crimes and other criminal acts by peacekeepers in the nation of Razachstan.

If you haven’t heard of Razachstan, that’s because the country does not exist—save for in arguments made by moot court teams in the International Criminal Court’s moot competition, held at Pace Law School in November. Competing were teams from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the United States—including one from SCU. Teams argued for the prosecution, the defense, and as victims’ advocates.

The Santa Clara team came away with first place honors, beating out New York University and Louisiana State University in the finals. SCU student Jessica Tillson won the award for Best Defense Brief, and Jacqueline Binger was named Third Best Oralist. “If you win in front of these judges, it means you really know international law,” said Wil Burns, senior fellow of international environmental law and coach of the International Criminal Moot Court team.

SCU’s School of Law has several external moot court teams that compete throughout the year. The teams focus on cases involving high-tech law, intellectual property, the First Amendment, environmental law, and space law. In 2008, SCU will host the International Environmental Law regional competition for teams from the United States and Australia. KCS

post-image From left: Wil Burns with students Sharron Fang, Jacqueline Binger, and Jessica Tillson. Photo: Charles Barry
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