The University team was awarded second place in the final of the ‘International Criminal Court Moot Court Competition 2019’ in The Hague. In the final round three teams participated from Russian universities: St Petersburg University; Far Eastern Federal University; and Higher School of Economics (Nizhny Novgorod).

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The competition in international criminal law consists of several rounds. It has been held since 2011 with the support of: the National Research University Higher School of Economics; the International Criminal Court (The Hague, the Netherlands); and the Russian branch of the International Association of Penal Law for students of Russian and foreign universities where Russian is the main language of instruction. The competition is a simulation of court proceedings, and is held in an actual courtroom of the International Criminal Court. The participants represent the Council for the Defendant, Council for the Prosecution, and the third State or representatives of victims.

St Petersburg University team included: Aleksandra Pilavova; Anastasia Krus; Marina Petrova; Fedor Ilin; and Nikita Solodovnikov. Ksenia Shestakova, Associate Professor of St Petersburg University, and Daria Lapshina and Maksim Trofimov, St Petersburg University alumni and participants of the competition from previous years, participated as recourse persons and team coaches.  

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This year’s case was based on current issues in international law and international criminal law. It raised a question of whether it is possible to prosecute a lawyer who, having high qualifications in international law, prepares a memorandum for the government on the legality of humanitarian intervention in cases when another state uses chemical weapons against its citizens.

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The team from St Petersburg University represented the Council for the State of Astipur, the Aggressor State. They dealt with questions of admissibility of evidence, legal ethics, freedom of expression, and the legitimacy of protecting human rights by inhumane means.

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Judge Kimberly Prost, presiding on the ICC Moot Court panel of judges, noted the coherence of the legal position presented by the students from St Petersburg. Ivana Hrdličková, President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and Matt Halling, ICC Legal Officer, also observed the persuasive power of Marina Petrova, speaker for the St Petersburg University team. They added that ‘a talented lawyer can build a wall which neither prosecutors nor judges will be able to ruin’.

The team from St Petersburg University was awarded the silver medal; while the Best Speaker Award went to Marina Petrova.

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