Strathmore Law School students Eugene Kanyugo and Mariam Hiba Malik made history this past week when they were declared winners of the 12th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition. Not only is this the first time a Kenyan team has won the moot court competition, it is also the first time in a decade that an African team has been declared winner. Eugene and Mariam faced Kenyatta University School of Law in the final round—the first time both finalist teams in the competition were from Africa. They were declared winners through a unanimous decision of all five judges.
Dubbed the ‘International Human Rights Olympics’, the Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot is the largest international human rights moot court competition in the world, attracting over fifty of the best universities from each of the five UN regions. In the final round, the teams had the privilege of arguing before judges drawn from the International Criminal Court, the European Court of Human Rights and the Global Campus of Human Rights. The bench also comprised of two former United Nations Special Rapporteurs for Torture as well as Extrajudicial and Summary Executions from the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
As a reward for their exemplary performance, Eugene and Mariam will receive two Peter Coenen Scholarships for a Summer International Human Rights Implementation Programme at the University of Lucerne in Switzerland. The victory is a culmination of months of hard work and determination for Eugene and Mariam, who started preparing over seven months ago, and have consistently been working on their arguments since then. The students were coached by Cecil Abungu, who paid tribute to them for “having a wonderful spirit and staying committed, resilient and hardworking for the entire time.” “It has been a privilege for me to help them”, Cecil added.
Eugene and Mariam paid special tribute to their coach Cecil Abungu for spending so much time this year helping them prepare. They also offered a special thank you to their family and friends for the unending support that played a monumental role in this outstanding achievement.
Congratulations to the winning team!