Three students of University of Calabar, UNICAL, have emerged semi finalists of the 2023 Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition, MLMC, in Azerbaijan.
The law students achieved the feat after emerging African Champions which qualified them to compete in the World finals of the competition, held at the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan on October 5, 2023.
UNICAL team comprised of Felix-Uche Richard Chikeziri, Akpoiroro Victory Oghenekparobor and Musa Omma-Agbon Zaiki, came third after 77 teams from universities and regions worldwide participated in the various knock-out stages of the competition, arguing a case related to laser activities and the use of anti-satellite weapons in outer space.
The team engaged in rigorous legal arguments on international law and politics against the Asian Regional Champions from the China University of Political Science and Law, which eventually emerged as the winners of the competition.
The competition was judged by three sitting judges of the International Court of Justice, ICJ.
MLMC, a prestigious competition hosted by the International Institute of Space Law, IISL, took place during the 74th International Astronautical Congress, IAC, held at the prestigious Baku Convention Centre, BCC, and Heydar Aliyev Center, HAC, in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The students had, in a remarkable display of legal prowess, competed against 17 other African universities in the regional rounds, won the African regional finals, surpassing the University of Pretoria, South Africa and 16 other African Universities.
The victory earned them the title of African Regional Champions, placing them alongside champions from Latin America, Asia, Northern America, and Europe.
It further advanced them to the quarter finals of the competition, where they competed against the Latin American regional champions of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM, the largest university in Latin America.
The University of Calabar, in a statement, commended the students saying they displayed exceptional legal acumen and defeated their Latin American counterparts, securing their place in the semi-final stage.
Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition, MLMC, is recognised as one of the most esteemed moot court competitions in space law. It is named after H.E. Manfred Lachs, a former judge and President of the International Court of Justice, ICJ.
The competition provides students with a unique opportunity to engage with public international law and the laws of outer space.
“Furthermore, participating in the MLMC offers students invaluable knowledge, experience, exposure to a professional network of international lawyers, and improved advocacy skills.
“Teams from various regions across the globe participate in regional rounds of the Competition. The winners from each region (Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa, North America, and Latin America) then compete in the World Finals, which are in conjunction with the annual International Astronautical Congress.
“Although Team UNICAL did not secure the top spot in the World Finals this year, there were among the top 4 teams who made it to the semi-final stage of the World Finals out of 77 teams. For this, they received the esteemed title of SEMI-FINALIST in the 2023 Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition. They were also honoured with the Best Memorials for the Africa Rounds.
“This achievement reflects UNICAL’s commitment to excellence in legal education and dedication to nurturing outstanding legal talent. It also highlights the University’s global position as a formidable contender in space law and international legal competitions,” the university said.