Great Zimbabwe University ranked in the world’s top 20 universities at the 2019 Jessup International Law Moot Court competition
The Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is a simulation of a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the United Nations. It is regarded as the “Olympics of Moot Court Competitions” amongst law schools over the world as it is the single largest moot court competition of law schools under the sun. The initial rounds, which are judged on the basis of memorial scores, involve more than 1,500 law schools from all over the world; but from all of those, only an estimated 700 teams qualify for the international rounds which are held in Washington DC.
This year’s edition of the competition was held between 31st March 2019 and 6th April 2019. Great Zimbabwe University participated in the competition, for the third consecutive time, and more than ably represented not only the nation of Zimbabwe, but indeed, the continent of Africa as a whole. The University qualified in the top 32 teams that advanced to the knock out rounds of the competition; 32 out of some 700 teams. That alone was an achievement for two main reasons. Firstly, Great Zimbabwe University was the only African team to qualify into the top 32 teams that advanced to the knock out stage of the Competition. Yes, the only African team! The second reason, which was greatly emphasised by the organisers of the moot competition, is that this was the very first time, in the history of both Zimbabwe and that of the Jessup Moot Court Competition, that a Zimbabwean team qualified into the top 32 advancing teams; a ranking that is reserved for the best of the very best. This achievement speaks volumes in respect of the capabilities and prowess of Great Zimbabwe University as an emerging force that is to be reckoned with in the world of international moot court competitions, especially bearing in mind that the Jessup Moot Court Competition is celebrating its sixtieth (60th) anniversary this year.
The achievement itself was by no means a streak of sheer luck or serendipitous fortune. Each team is required to undergo four extremely strenuous rounds of argument against some of the best universities in the world in the preliminary rounds. In one of their preliminary round matches, students from Great Zimbabwe University went head to head against the much dreaded and naturally imposing University of Cambridge, and emerged victorious. GZU won all of its four (4) preliminary rounds; meaning that it was completely undefeated in all of its preliminary rounds!
So phenomenal was the performance of GZU that it received five awards for its outstanding performance in Washington DC, which are as follows:
- The best new University award. This award was premised on GZU’s performance given the fact that it only started competing in the Jessup 2 years ago. It was recognized that there are teams that have attended the Jessup for decades, but have come nowhere close to achieving what GZU achieved in its limited time with the Jessup. In the final overall ranking, GZU was ranked 19th Place out of the entire tournament. Whereas last year it boasted of making it into the top 100, having placed 88th, this year, GZU boasts of ranking in the top 20.
- The award for Advanced Teams. This award was premised on the fact that GZU qualified for the top 32 best teams out of the entire 700 teams attending the tournament, and more specifically, the fact that GZU was undefeated in all of its preliminary rounds.
- The award for Best Oralist Category. One of GZU’s participants’, Mr Simbarashe Chigumira, received an individual award for being ranked in the top 25 best oralists in the entire competition. Judges decided that his performance was deserving of individual recognition.
- Spirit of the Jessup Award. This award is given to the team that best exemplifies the energy , dedication , commitment , passion and hard work that is expected of the Jessup Moot Court Competition. The award is particularly special because it is voted for by all teams attending the competition. It is amazing that all other teams unanimously voted for GZU as deserving of this award.
- Apart from the foregoing awards , GZU also won a cash prize of USD 1,000-00 for its distinguished performance in the tournament.
GZU was represented by four of its law students, namely, Blissful Dzimiri, Kudakwashe Muzenda, Ivy Madziwo and Simbarashe Chigumira. The students were coached and mentored by Mr Zvobgo Tawanda Zvobgo, a top litigator in Harare.