Valparaiso Law Students Claim Third Place at Susan J. Ferrell Intercultural Human Rights Moot Court Competition

Valparaiso University Law School students competed in the Eighth Annual Susan J. Ferrell Intercultural Human Rights Moot Court Competition from Feb. 1 to 3, in Miami. This year’s problem was titled “The Yago River Case,” and the event was hosted by St. Thomas University School of Law.

The competitors were Sylviane Elessie, Sara Koppenaal, Daniel Didech, and Justin Ezell. Michael Licari coached the team.

The team took third place overall and also received an award for the second best memorial.

Ezell was named the seventh best oralist overall and Koppenaal was recognized as the 10th best oralist overall.

Teams from Duke University, University of Miami, Florida International University, North Carolina Central University, American University of Sharajah of United Arab Emirates, and City University of Hong Kong also competed, among others.

The team was asked to submit a brief for each side outlining its party’s stance on the outlined issues. The team then presented its arguments orally while being questioned by a panel of judges.

The Susan J. Ferrell Intercultural Human Rights Competition is an international moot court competition that focuses on human rights. The competition is named after Susan J. Ferrell, a woman who dedicated her life to human rights advocacy but was tragically killed in the Oklahoma City bombing.

The problem related to several human rights issues and international investment laws with bilateral investment treaties. The problem was set around a bilateral investment treaty that was entered into by two fictitious countries. There was a foreign corporation in one of the countries that was using excessive water for the company, which exacerbated a drought in the host country that led to a humanitarian crisis. There was a protest group that bombed the foreign corporation and plotted an overthrow of the national government. There were many issues that were discussed, including the rights of indigenous people in international law, terrorism, and extradition.