Baylor University IACHR Moot Court Team Soars at Competition

On April 28-29, 2023, the Eugene Scassa Mock Organization of American States (ESMOAS) Program’s Eighth Inter-American Court of Human Rights Moot Court (IACHR) Competition was held at Baylor University. Although hearings delayed by weather on Friday, an invited five-judge panel managed to hear all arguments in a preliminary and final round presented by teams from Baylor and St. Mary’s Universities. Teams of two contestants argued alternately as State and Petitioner in a case involving a bauxite mine’s pollution of a river in a fictional South American country. The river was sacred to an indigenous group whose way of life and religious practices were severely limited by the pollution. Petitioners cited violations of the American Convention on Human rights, the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man as well as judgments from other international courts, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the Court’s prior decisions in their arguments.

Baylor’s Logan Butler (Senior, History major from Evansville, IN) won the Outstanding Team award,  representing both State and Petitioner in his arguments,  as well as the Outstanding State Legal Memorial award for best written memorial and well as the combined Outstanding Team Legal Memorial, followed by Michael Jordan Michael Jordan (Junior, University Scholar, Harker Heights,) and Sam Joyce (Sophomore, International Studies, Downer’s Grove, IL)  who took the plaque for Distinguished Team. Michael also won the Distinguished State Legal Memorial, Sam received the Outstanding Orator award and the Outstanding Petitioner Memorial Award and Victoria Shellenberger (Sophomore, Political Science, Phoenix, AZ) won Distinguished Petitioner Memorial Award.    

Other Baylor participants were Mari Benavides (junior, History and Latin American Studies major from San Benito, TX),  Vanessa Cham (junior, Neuroscience major from Rockwall, TX), Pedro Leonardo Enes (Freshman, Economics, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Aanya Pidiath  (Freshman, Political Science from Hillsborough, NJ) and Ben Cleveland (freshman, Pre-Business from San Antonio, TX.

This spring’s competition concludes the year’s MOAS activities, and the 26th and final year of Dr. Joan Supplee’s directorship of the program that has competed throughout the Western Hemisphere, reflected great credit on Baylor University, and profoundly positively influenced the lives of countless students. The program will be directed by Dr. Mark McGraw starting in the fall. Questions about MOAS may be directed to mark_mcgraw@baylor.edu.