November brought an exciting international, mock trial experience for Bosque senior, Julia. Along with 32 other students from New Mexico, Poland, Germany, and Israel, Julia participated in the Model International Criminal Court (MICC) program. Typically taking place in Krzyzowa, Poland, the intensive 6-day program moved online this year and transported students to the court virtually.
Sponsored by the Kreisau/Krzyzowa Initiative based in Berlin, MICC teaches core principles of the International Criminal Court to high school and university students. In order to recruit students to apply for the program, MICC partners with New Mexico Human Rights Projects (NMHRP) each year.
Participating in MICC is no easy feat. To be considered as a candidate, students must submit an application answering questions concerning human rights, international law, and politics, provide a 60-second introduction video to express their interest, and share their resume. After these requirements are reviewed, NMHRP selects 10 New Mexican students to interview, and then narrows the list to 8 who participate in the trials.
Each morning of the program, Julia logged onto Zoom at 7:15 am MT to meet with students from the other side of the world. Their program director welcomed them each morning with ABBA music blasting from their computers. After the morning ritual of music, participants jumped into discussion and action. The group split in half for two trial simulations: the Frederick Flick case and Drazen Erdemovic case. For each case, teammates defended, prosecuted, and judged two historical crimes against humanity. Julia was on the Frederick Flick case and represented the prosecution side. “We learned all about how the ICC functions, how sentencing works, and we learned a lot about the crimes that were happening in World War II,” they said. “It was so amazing.”
Throughout the entire experience, Julia’s favorite parts were the lectures and presentations about international law and peace. The group attended seminars from international law leaders, and private training sessions by human rights workers from Europe and Asia. Beyond the academic aspects, Julia loved getting to know everyone. “They were all very kind, intelligent people.” Through the program, Julia learned about the importance of opening up to the world and seeking out experiences with new people. When it’s safe, participants will have the opportunity to travel to Poland or Germany next year and meet in person.
“Working with international students was something I will never forget,” Julia expressed. “It was so interesting to communicate with all of these different people from Poland, Germany, and Israel, and learn about their lives. We all had very different things to say about our countries, and it opened my eyes to a world of different perspectives.”
Julia’s appreciation for mock trials has continued to grow over the years on Bosque’s team. “Zach Lang is an amazing coach,” they said. “I enjoy being on the trial team, and I love learning about how the legal system works. It's always been something I've been interested in, and Zach makes it very fun to be a part of.” Julia also discovered a passion for formulating arguments and delivering closing statements.
As a senior, Julia is looking toward the future. After graduating from Bosque this spring, Julia plans to attend Tulane University after being admitted as an “early decision” applicant and aspires to double major in Political Science and Sociology. They shared, “While I'm not sure if I want to go into law, I'm pretty certain that I'd like to go into politics, which might ultimately take me into law!” For now, Julia is leaning toward a potential career in political journalism.