University of Rwanda Law students won as the best team amongst all Law schools in Rwanda. The annual competition took place at The University’s headquarters at Gikondo, Kicukiro and at the Supreme Court on Thursday 20th February 2020.
Moot Court competitions are organized by iPeace, a nonprofit organization that helps communities and individuals in Africa’s Great Lakes Region to achieve sustainable peaceful coexistence using human rights and good governance education.
The competitions aims at helping law students to practice and strengthen their pleading skills. It also helps them know how to properly interpret laws and communicate to judges. During the two day occasion, law students from different universities get to connect. Socialize and share skills.
This year’s competition had 5 universities competing: University of Rwanda, University of Kigali, University of Lay Adventists of Kigali (UNILAK), INES Ruhengeri and ULK Kiagli.
The University of Rwanda won as the best team and had made the best memorial submissions. Phoebe Kayitesi, who won as the best female pleader is also UR student. Competitions was held under the theme “Adjudication of contract disputes before Rwandan courts: challenges to the enforcement of the law governing contracts.”
Lilianne Iyandemye is a third-year student who has been attending Moot Court Competitions for the last two years. She has told Kaminuza Star that winning was a sign of potential quality education they are offered at the UR.
“I feel so proud to have won the competitions. The victory assures me of the quality of education in the School of Law at the University of Rwanda,” she said.
She added that the skills and experience acquired from the competition guarantee her bright future as a lawyer.
“I and my team worked very hard to win. I am happy that it paid back and I am positive that our future as lawyers is bright.”
Bernard Enzama, Project Coordinator at the iPeace said that the competition has started to bear fruits as students seem to acquire skills and get used to court procedures.
“A lot of impact has been realized especially the national moot court competition has helped the students to improve on their level of confidence and the ability to speak in public and in the courts of law. It has also improved their ability to research on basic laws,” he told Kaminuza Star.
He added that although the activity is called moot court competition, it is rather a training.
Asked about what have been the challenges so far, Enzama explained that “the biggest challenge is that in Rwanda there are very few qualified persons with a PhD in Law in various legal fields who can be consulted as experts. The existing experts are already lecturing at the participating universities, which seems to pose some conflict of interest issue when it comes to competition part.”
Initiatives for Peace and Human Rights (iPeace) started organizing moot court competition in 2013 with focus on international humanitarian law (law applicable in time of armed conflicts) and human rights. The focus is put on lawyers because, Enzama explains, without laws, the society would be a jungle where only the strongest would survive. To ensure that people and their properties are protected, the rule of law must prevail and that starts with young lawyers.