St. Maarten students to participate in International Moot Court Competition

PHILIPSBURG--The SXM Moot Court Foundation has selected a team of high school students who will represent St. Maarten in the 2020 High School International Moot Court Competition in Gdynia, Poland, from January 27 to 31, 2020.
Six students – Vitasha Carty of Milton Peters College (MPC), Caribbean International Academy’s (CIA’s) Ignacio Becerra and Carson Gifford, and St. Dominic High School’s Naomi Jankee, Srishti Rajani and Yvette Rosario – were selected for the team after their successful performance in the bi-annual SXM Moot Court Competition held on May 10.
“The competition is geared specifically towards high school students and aims towards making them more familiar with (international) law and debating,” said the foundation in a press release. Students will be given a fictional case to argue and will have to use international law to defend their position.
In Poland, the students will have the opportunity to compete before a panel of real-life International Criminal Court (ICC) judges and other legal experts.
The team will compete against teams from all over the world, including Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Mongolia, Romania, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, Venezuela, the United States and Zimbabwe.
In 2016, the St. Maarten team competed for the first time and secured third place.
This year’s fictional case is about a “crime against humanity”, namely the forcible displacement of a population in the fictional country of Tabanath.
Tabanath is under the leadership of Tony Qiao, who has been incarcerated at the ICC detention centre in The Hague, the Netherlands.
Tabanath is made up of two distinct regions, Taba and Menai, which both have strong cultural and religious heritage. This divide brings geographical and political unrest, resulting in violence which is becoming increasingly uncontrollable.
The Tabanath government is largely comprised of Taba representatives, causing Menai to revolt. Menai people are gradually being forced out of their homes to camps near the border as the violence increases. Qiao argues that this is done for their own safety and his acts are in the interest of all Tabanath people. However, the Menai and the Prosecutors qualify this as a forcible displacement of a population, a crime against humanity that is punishable by the ICC.
The Prosecution must argue before the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber that there is enough evidence to bring Qiao to trial. Qiao and his defence team must challenge that request. Each team must argue both sides.
On their road to Poland, Team St. Maarten meets on Saturdays at the Prosecutor’s Office with its coaches Emmely de Haan (Berman Keuning), Gerald Simmons-de Jong (Saba government), Fehmi Kutluer (Lexwell), Nathalie Tackling (Council of Advice) and Marit Wiersma (Prosecutor’s Office).
The SXM Moot Court Foundation is a non-profit organisation and, as such, is dependent on support from its sponsors. The foundation thanks all the sponsors who have committed to getting the team to Poland.
For more information, persons are asked to contact Tackling at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
Persons can follow the foundation on Facebook and Instagram, as well as its website for updates of the team’s preparations for Poland.
Photo: St. Maarten’s team in the 2020 High School International Moot Court Competition. From left: Vitasha Carty, Naomi Jankee, Ignacio Becerra, Carson Gifford, Yvette Rosario and Srishti Rajani.

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