A team of three undergraduate students representing the University of Tokyo took first place at the eighth edition of the ICRC International Humanitarian Law Moot Court Competition.
Team members Fei Tong, Issa Shiraishi, and Hwa Namkoong, along with Professor Ai Kihara-Hunt, successfully pleaded to a simulated courtroom of three judges in the final round against Doshisha University.
As winners, the team was presented with an invitation and financing to compete in the Asia-Pacific Round of the competition, to be hosted in Hong Kong in February of next year.
The tournament was hosted at Waseda University and featured nine schools in total. The University of Tokyo has placed either first or second in the last three years of the competition’s history, a testament to the institution’s budding interests in international humanitarian law and to the strength of the professors who mentor the student teams.
(The U.Tokyo team presents their arguments to judges in the final round of the competition at Waseda University.)
Months before the tournament, the competing teams submitted memorials, or written summaries of the arguments to be made at the day of competition, to the judges in advance.
These memorials, trimmed to around 4,000 words for both the Prosecutor and the Defendant, were then sent to their respective opponents for review before the tournament.
The panel of judges who scored participants constituted a multitude of varying legal backgrounds and expertise, from legal advisors for American military operations within Japan to ICRC ambassadors from foreign delegations.
“I’ll remember this moment and try to go out from my comfort zone more often,” wrote Fei Tong.