The Africa team represented by a group of students from the University of Pretoria, won the 2018 Space Law Moot Court Competition yesterday. The team consisting of Ms. Ruvimbo Samanga (coach) and students, Mr. Simon Motsweni, Mr. Simon Botha and Lawrence-John Maralack competed in the world finals held during the International Astronautical Congress (IAC)-the world’s largest convention for the space industry taking place in Bremen, Germany, this week.
According to Advocate Lulu Makapela, a Space Council member, the competition offers “a great platform and unique opportunity for students, academics, legal professionals and space community to gain exposure to legal debates on matters pertinent to international space law”, and she hopes that this achievement will encourage more students and universities to participate in the competition.
The world finals were judged by the prestigious judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), who faced the important task of determining the team with best legal solutions and arguments on a hypothetical space law dispute concerning questions related to a ‘conflicting activities in outer space, planetary protection, and outer space security”. For more detail about the problem debated please refer to http://www.iislweb.org/docs/2018problem.pdf.
The competition entails a lot of hard work and dedication as this is a specialised area, says Ms Nomfuneko Majaja, Chief Director, space affairs at the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), …the team had to advance a lot of stages to qualify and we are extremely proud of this achievement for the team as the Department.
The competition is an international space law capacity building programme organised for over 25 years by the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) with four regions participating, Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North America. Africa joined the competition in 2011 and is supported by the dti and the South African Council for Space Affairs (SACSA), including institutions such as South African National Space Agency (SANSA), National Space Research and Development Agency (NARSDA) of Nigeria and the space industry which has over the years seen the importance of offering support.
Teams from universities wishing to participate in the 2019 Competition must visit www.iislweb.org/lachs_moot for more information.