Strathmore Law Students Get internship Opportunity at the Dominic Ongwen Defence ICC
Strathmore Law School students, Salma Khamala and Roy Kitur, enjoyed an experience of a lifetime at the International Criminal Court Moot Court Competition 2017 (ICCMCC). Each one had a role in either Defence, Prosecution or Representative of the Victims, where they made submissions before a three-member bench on issues on competency of interim military governments in international law, protected groups within the accepted definition of genocide, and the individual responsibility of child soldiers in international criminal law.
The team was fortunate in one of their presentations, to have submitted before a lead counsel for Dominic Ongwen from Uganda; a case that is currently ongoing in the ICC. Even though he made a “hot bench” (as students call the judges who persistently interrupted one’s submissions to ask questions – or to throw one of their train of thought), the counsel lauded the team for their submissions and thorough presentation offering them internship positions at the ICC in Dominic Ongwen’s Defence!
This opportunity is one that is thrilling to the duo, with Salma having recently graduated from Strathmore University in June this year, and Kitur being in his final year of university. They are both very interested in the field of international criminal law and are eager to find themselves at the center of it all. In addition, they both agree that this is a wonderful opportunity into such a career as internships are the gateways to learning priceless experiences that are useful during international criminal trials.
The internship opportunity will be for a duration of 6 months at ICC chambers in The Hague, Netherlands. The two pair are expected to tackle projects such as legal research, assisting the attorneys to prepare for trial, assisting in preparation of witnesses, as well as accompanying the attorneys to the Detention Center to visit the accused.
Salma and Kitur encourage law students to participate in moot court competitions and other beneficial extra-curricular activities to enhance practical skills and knowledge in a particular field, and to enjoy opportunities that come through such experiences, which could propel one to further in their pursuit of desired career.
Salma’s enthusiasm is largely based on the fact that she will be working with a Defence team that will be tackling the issues on how to handle accused persons, blamed for committing crimes which were committed against them. Being part of this jurisprudence is one of the things that Salma is appreciative of, contrasting with her experience last year where she interned at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Office of the Prosecutor. In addition, she will be joining the case at a time where the trial process is still nascent.
For Kitur, the opportunity to be part of one of the most exciting criminal trials in some way is thrilling. He loves a challenge, and moving from the hypothetical world of moot courts to the reality of actual trial is something he looks forward to eagerly. Naturally, he hopes to make an invaluable contribution in the team.
Congratulations to Salma and Roy on their great achievement.