Trio in humanitarian law finals

04 June 2007 | Story by Helen Swingler

Speak easy: (From left) Humanitarian law mooters Janice Bleazard, Shingira Masunzu and Duncan Wild with coach Cathy Powel (public law).

A UCT team of humanitarian law mooters reached the finals of the recent Jean-Pictet Competition in International Humanitarian Law in El Escorial, Spain.

The team of Janice Bleazard, Shingira Masanzu and Duncan Wild was one of only four English-speaking teams in the finals. Masanzu was also judged best oralist in her section of 16 teams.

What makes this feat remarkable is that international humanitarian law is not taught in the UCT LLB curriculum. The students studied the topic in their own time, with supervisor Cathy Powell.

What did count in their favour was their strength in arguing a case in court, thanks to the faculty's Oliver Tambo Moot Court facility. '˜Moots' have since become a compulsory element of the university's LLB programme.

'Our graduates are sought after both in South Africa and abroad and one of the reasons is that our curriculum combines academic analysis and critical thinking with the practice of the law. One element of this practice is compulsory moot training,' said the dean, Prof Hugh Corder.

Since 2002, law students have notched up several successes, among these the 2005 All African Human Rights Moot Competition title and fourth place among 120 teams competing in the international round of the Jessup International Law Moot in Washington.

UCT will host the South African round of the Jessup Moot in 2008.

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