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Brandeis plans to continue this program, with the continued involvement of the Ethics Center’s international justice community.
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Learn more about Brandeis Programs in International Justice and Society.
Moot Court Victory for Brandeis Undergrads at The Hague
Highlights from new Study Abroad program
July 15, 2010
In July, a Brandeis University student team beat out top international legal experts on their way to a moot court victory in The Hague. The bilingual court competition, decided by guest judges from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, was part of a new “Brandeis in The Hague” study abroad program launched this year.
In 2010 Brandeis collaborated with the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies at the University of Leiden to launch a summer study abroad program at The Hague in the Netherlands. Eighteen Brandeis undergraduates spent six weeks exploring how international law seeks to further peace, justice, and human rights amidst the hard realities of a complex world.
Along with coursework, students met with judges, advocates, and policy specialists, including Hague Prosecutor Ekkehard Withopf and former NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. They applied readings to events taking place in the courtrooms, visiting the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, and the Special Criminal Tribunals for Sierra Leone and the Former Yugoslavia.
During workshops at the Grotius Centre's Bilingual Summer School, the Brandeis students connected with graduate students and professionals from all over the world. Every year, the Grotius Centre gathers together law students and legal professionals from around the world for a summer institute; the Brandeis students were among the first undergraduate students to participate.
Among the interactive exercises was a moot court competition. The three Brandeis teams did well, and one distinguished itself by winning the top prize – a fitting achievement for students representing a school named for Justice Louis D. Brandeis.
Facing a French-speaking team including a magistrate and senior lawyer, the winning team (including Brandeis students David Linett, David Hanno, Morgan Manley, Zach Wooley, Sidney Grant, and Joe Corsello) analyzed a hypothetical case that included issues of incitement to genocide, war crimes, and the responsibility of military commanders. Linett also won a prize for Best Orator.
This program culminated a process begun with contacts at The Hague made by Dan Terris, Director of the Ethics Center and Brandeis Vice President for Global Affairs, with the idea of creating a student learning experience that built on the Center’s expertise in the field of international justice. Professor Richard Gaskins (Legal Studies), the Office of Global Affairs, and the Office for Study Abroad developed this idea in detail, and ensured a successful pilot program.
"The students exceeded my expectations,” said Gaskins, who led the program and taught with guest faculty from the University of Leiden. “We really tested their endurance, setting the bar very high, and I'm impressed with how much they learned so quickly."
“I’m constantly thinking and engaged,” wrote Shira Straus ’11 during the program. “Taught by international lawyers and academics, we’ve covered everything from overviews of international institutions to the specific definitions and histories of international crimes to cross-examination workshops. It has all been extremely interesting!”