Last week, University of Rwanda emerged second during the sixth Great Lakes Regional Moot Court Competition after losing to Moi University (Kenya) in the Anglophone category. In the Francophone category, University of Goma beat University of Kinshasa both from DR Congo.
Represented by Marie Gisele Dukuze and Henry Brice Nkundineza Muhoza, University of Rwanda competed in the Anglophone category which had 15 universities from Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
The Francophone category also had 15 universities from Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.
The annual event organised by Initiatives for Peace and Humana Rights Organisation in Kigali brings together students from different colleges and universities in the region to discuss various relevant topics.
The main topic was about “Child soldiers during armed conflicts in the Great Lakes Region”, and participants focused on measures taken to penalise people found guilty of engaging children in armed conflict.
All four teams walked away with trophies, certificates and books.
According to the participants, the competition is significant, as it boosts knowledge and helps build networks amongst universities in the region.
Dukuze said that the competition gave her insight to the international human rights law, and built confidence to express herself at the same time.
Crispine Mushobokelwa from University of Goma said that she will encourage her fellow students to embrace more knowledge on the international human rights law, considering that she comes from a country of conflict.
Lilian Wamaitha Wachira from Moi University of Kenya attributed the success to a deep engagement in research, and guidance from coaches to conduct the research effectively.
“It was very informative and helpful. It enabled us to interact with other university students in the region and see how they go about their activities,” Wachira said.
Elvis Mbembe Binda, the chief executive officer of Initiatives for Peace and Human Rights Organisation, said that this year, organisers focused on gender balance, adding that 52 of the participants were female, unlike in previous editions.
Binda noted that the competition aims at equipping law students and their lecturers with relevant knowledge and skills regarding the international human rights law.
“Since 2013, we have seen the impact of the event grow. It helps students tackle their courses well. Also, we are training future lawyers and decision makers. It started as a moot court competition but today, we have it as part of a broader training programme. We are planning to increase the number of participants for empowerment. This year, more than 47 colleges and universities were interested but only 30 confirmed to participate,” he added.