For more than sixty years, the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition has brought together law students from nearly 100 countries to provide them with an opportunity to learn how they can help create a peaceful world through international law. The mission of the International Law Students Association has always been for students to take the lessons they have learned from the Jessup back to their home countries, and when they become leaders, to put those lessons into practice. We have held steadfast to that aspiration even when, as now, real-world events have directly impacted our students and the broader Jessup community. But this vision will prevail only if the world reinforces and redoubles the study of international law when it is most acutely challenged.
The Jessup community is shocked by what is happening in Ukraine. As teachers, students, and practitioners of international law, ILSA reaffirms the duty of all nations to comply with the obligations of the United Nations Charter, and particularly those in Article 2(4), prohibiting “the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”
We have been in contact with the Jessup National Administrator in Ukraine and have extended an invitation to both registered Ukrainian teams to compete in the International Rounds if they are able to do so, despite the terrible conditions they now face. ILSA will do everything it can to support those Ukrainian students before, during, and after the 2022 Jessup Competition.
The Russian students who qualified for the 2022 International Rounds will not be disqualified from the Jessup. We reject the idea that our shared goal of a world governed by the rule of law would be served by punishing students for the decisions of their national leaders. The teams from Russia will participate under no national flag.
ILSA will continue working to find ways whereby our Jessup students can express their support for their Ukrainian counterparts.
Providing a forum for law students to receive meaningful exposure to international law and the peaceful resolution of disputes is even more important when those ideals are under threat. We believe that Jessup participants – including those in Ukraine and in Russia – represent our best hope for a future in which international relations are conducted according to the fundamental principles of international law. It is our fervent hope that throughout their lives, our students will be champions of international law and advocates for peace even in the most trying of circumstances.
The Board of Directors of the International Law Students Association