On April 11, 2011, the Law School’s International Moot Court (IMC) program conducted the championship round of its Intramural International Moot Court Competition, presided over by Law School Professor and former U.S. counsel before the International Court of Justice, Fred Morrison. The championship, in which Anne Fuchs (’12) was selected best oralist, culminated a process that began a year earlier.
Last April, following Kirk Otto’s (’11) receipt of best oralist in the 2009-10 competition, IMC student directors began preparing for the 2010-11 IMC academic year. Preparations included, among other things, selecting a slate of potential IMC students for the subsequent academic year and reviewing the process for selecting the Law School’s Jessup International Moot Court competitors. IMC Director and adjunct faculty member Geoffrey Larson, meanwhile, began devising the international legal fact pattern used in the fall of each year to assist in the selection of Jessup team members and began writing the 2010-11 IMC Intramural International Competition Compromis, the fact pattern and statement of issues and grievances used in the intramural competition.
At the beginning of October, on the basis of a writing and oral argument competition, two IMC students, Grant Alexis (’12) and Sarah Robison (’12), were selected to join three of last year’s IMC students, Raina Challeen (’11), Randolph Brickey (’11), and David Weafer (’11), to comprise the Law School’s Jessup team; the team would later compete in the Rocky Mountain Regional in Denver, arguing issues pertaining to international law. The remaining IMC students began drafting Memorials—the equivalent of international legal briefs—in response to the 2010-11 IMC intramural competition Compromis.
This year’s intramural competition involved issues of sovereignty, State control over terrorists acting from within State borders, torture, and damages. The problem centered on a terrorist organization’s use of the Internet to attack world financial institutions, nuclear energy sites, and prisons holding the organization’s members. The critical questions were whether, and under what circumstances, a State, given the threat of terrorism, may breach another State’s sovereignty and whether arguably noninvasive interrogation techniques constitute torture or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Competition oralists were expected to demonstrate both an understanding of basic international law and the laws specific to their case, while fielding a litany of questions from the judges.
The primary purpose of the IMC Intramural International Moot Court Competition is to improve law students’ legal writing and oral argument skills, but many students participate in the program for the opportunity to argue an international law case with real-world implications. Several recent IMC graduates also have seized upon their work in IMC to pursue opportunities working for international organizations.