Representing Africa were students from the International Law Students Association (ILSA) of the University of Calabar, Nigeria: Ebruka Nelly-Helen Neji, and Ushie Augustine Eneji. They competed against the winners of the European Regional Rounds comprising of Katja Grunfeld and Iva Ramus from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
The team from Africa on Tuesday triumphed over their challengers from North Africa represented by the McGill University team during the semi-final rounds of the global contest to book a spot in the finals.
At the finals, Africa’s Ushie Augustine Eneji won the best oralist award.
The teams argued a Case Concerning Military Uses of Space Resources by hypothetical states of Suniza vs Azazi over disputes arising space exploration. –Additional issues are presented- regarding the use of abandoned lunar facilities and liability for damages resulting from an explosion on the Moon. The parties have agreed to submit their dispute to the International Court of Justice for resolution. The judges were Joan Donoghue, Peter Tomka and Kirill Gevorgian who are judges of the International Court of Justice.
Annually, the European Center for Space Law (ECSL) and the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) organizes the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition, with over 60 teams participating. The Africa Regional Round was hosted in Pretoria, South Africa by the Department of Trade and Industry where 9 universities from three countries in Africa participated and the University of Calabar took the first position.
The aims of the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition is to promote the interest, involvement and knowledge of space law among students by providing a fair and competitive environment for the exchange of thoughts and the deepening of understanding of space law. This competition encourages further development on the subject matter of space law in the curriculum of academic institutions and assists participating countries in developing technical legal capacity by preparing the next generation of space lawyers. The Competition is a platform for the students to put the analysis, drafting, presentation and arguing skills of an upcoming lawyer to the test.
Since its inception by the IISL in 1992, the Competition has grown to cover four world regions: North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Africa (added in 2012); and for the first time since joining in 2012, Africa won the Lachs moot world finals in 2018.
The initial headline says Africa won. However, this has been corrected for clarity. Our sincere apologies for the error.
Joseph Ibeh is a Mandela Washington Fellow and Senior Analyst at Space in Africa. His experience spans industry research and market analysis with a focus on African-grown NewSpace companies, commercial space industry, national space programmes and real-life application of space science for sustainable development in Africa.