"Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Archive for June, 2013

Judging the Telders Moot Court Competition in the Peace Palace

By Karin Asmus


Prof. Dr. Ingrid Detter de Frankopan served as a judge at the prestigious 36th annual Telders Moot Court Competition held from 25 until 27 April 2013 at the Peace Palace in The Hague.  The student team from Leiden University in the Netherlands won the competition.  Prof. Dr. Ingrid Detter de Frankopan was asked to serve as a Judge for the Semi-Finals. She is the longest serving Judge for the Semi-Finals and has been voted Best Judge several times.


Prof. Dr. Ingrid Detter de Frankopan with Judges for the Finals (from left to right) ad hoc ICJ Judge John Dugard from South Africa, ICJ Judge Kenneth Keith from New Zealand, and former President of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands Mr. Willibrord Davids.

The first Telders Moot Court Competition took place in 1977, when only four universities took part. Now, over 40 universities compete in national rounds. Only the most successful teams may represent their country in the international rounds held at the Peace Palace in the Hague.


Prof. Dr. Ingrid Detter de Frankopan with the French team.

Each year, student-teams are presented with a case involving a fictitious dispute between two states. This dispute is put before the United Nations’ most important legal organ, the International Court of Justice. It is up to the student-teams to defend the two states to the best of their ability. Each student-team has to represent the states substantively both in writing and through pleadings before so-called moot courts. This year, the participants pleaded the Varsho River Dispute, which once was a real dispute regarding the Varsho River and a freshwater lake which serve as the boundary between two States. Both (actors within) the States had their own ideas of how to use the river and the lake, which raised some environmental concerns and questions about each State’s rights and obligations under international law.


Prof. Dr. Ingrid Detter de Frankopan with the Italian participants.

The aim of the Telders Competition is to prolong the legacy of Professor dr. Benjamin Marius Telders, who became a professor of international law at Leiden University in 1937. Telders was intensely interested in why and how law operated. Professor Telders was respected for his sharp mind and had the honour to represent his country frequently, including before the Permanent Court of International Justice. Even during the Second World War, Telders stood up for his belief in the rule of law and civil society, and as a result was sent to the concentration camp at Bergen Belsen, where he later died in 1945.


Prof. Dr. Detter de Frankopan is Of Counsel at RJ Gaudet & Associates LLC, a firm based in Seattle with a branch in The Hague and an address in London.  The firm works on international legal matters.