The International Youth Moot Court

on Human Rights

The Social Excellence Forum

The International Youth Moot Court

One of the most important tools used by The Social Excellence Forum in its programs to get youth to implement the values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are Moot Courts on cases which provoke a discussion on specific rights in the Declaration. In the Moot Courts, the young students are divided into teams, research and prepare the case, escorted by top law firms and university faculties of law, and then conduct a trial in front of thousands of their peers, presided by actual professional judges and expert witnesses, with actors playing key figures in the case. This trial is not just a one time show, but becomes a standard part of the curriculum in the educational system, reaching tens of thousands of high school students.

As an example, the Moot Court which was held in 2016 dealt with the Right to Life vs. Freedom of Expression. It took place in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in front of 500 representatives of the young leadership in Israel, and the panel of judges included two judges from the European Court for Human Rights and the former President of the Israeli Supreme Court. The youth teams (prosecution and defense) were composed of 20 Israeli and 20 German high school students.

This trial sparked a series of events, lectures and activities that reached schools all over Israel on the subject of the limits of Freedom of Speech and the balance between interests.


The Moot Court of 2019: Renewal of the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial

The subject which was chosen for the 2019 Human Rights Youth Moot Court was the most extreme case of Human Rights violations and racism in the history of Mankind – the 2nd World War, Racial Hygiene and the Holocaust. In this matter, it was decided to have the trial in Jerusalem, important for humanity at large as well as for the State of Israel, which did not yet exist as a state at the time of the original Nuremberg Trials.

This trial made a strong statement for the youth who participating in it — who were selected from different sectors in Israel and abroad: that Human Rights violators will always face justice, eventually, and that they – the future leaders of humanity – should protect the values of Human Rights wherever they are. The Moot-Court was presided by international judges from the ICC, ECHR, American, German, ScoTsh and Israeli Supreme Courts, and it was documented on video, for schools all over the country.

The timing and location of the moot court carried significant symbolic value: it took place following the 70th Anniversary of both the State of Israel and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations (UDHR), in effect “twin sisters” born as an answer to the atrocities of the 2nd World War; 2019 also marked the 70th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the Doctors Trial in Nuremberg; And it was held in Jerusalem, where Adolf Eichmann was brought to justice more than half a century ago, and where Yosef Mengele was tried in a mock trial in 1985 to raise awareness to the plight of his victims.

In many aspects this trial wasn’t “Moot”, it had all the marks of a real trial: it had a genuine defendant, the case against him was based on actual evidence and extensive research by top professors in the field with the young litigators and had an international panel of professional judges from top judicial instances from all over the world.

The project reached unprecedented scope and depth. It followed 16 months of research by top international historians and experts on International Criminal Law, and involved international figures from academic establishments in the field of Law, History, Ethics, Bioethics, Medicine and Philosophy, in front of judges from the ICC, ECHR, and the Israeli, Scottish and American Supreme Courts.

The Case:

Afer a long and thorough research, in consultation with experts in the field and a tour on the ground in key historical locations in Germany, the following case was established:

A Criminal International Law Case against Swiss- German psychiatrist Prof. Ernst Rüdin (1874-1952), the father of Nazi Racial Hygiene.

Rüdin is considered a founding father of psychiatric genetics internationally. Since the beginning of the 20th Century, he vigorously promoted Racial Hygiene towards creating a “healthy genetic pool“ for the German race. He belonged to the group of psychiatric perpetrators who not only worked to give the Nazi selection policies scientific validity and authority, but also provide the infrastructure and tools to implement it.

In 1934 he wrote that “only through the political
work of Adolf Hitler, and only through him has our more than thirty-year old dream become a reality: to be able to put race hygiene into action.”

Prof. Ernst Rüdin

His contribution to the Nazi Racial Health policies, which culminated in the mass extermination of millions in the Final Solution, cannot be overrated.

Rüdin was the Director of the German Institute for Psychiatric Research and the President of the German Association of Neurologists and Psychiatrists. As an official government consultant, Rüdin played a pivotal part in designing the “Law for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases” and the forced sterilization of 400,000 people diagnosed with mental illnesses; later, he became deeply involved in the infamous Nazi “Euthanasia Program”, a euphemism for the systematic killing of 10,000 German children and 300,000 adult mental patients, considered “Unfit for Living“.

Nazi Propaganda Poster on the
“unfit” to live

The killing took place in specialized killing centers equipped with gas chambers and crematorium, and expanded to mental asylums all around Germany through poisoning and starvation.
This first mass killing of the Nazi regime, starting two years before the Final Solution and led the way to the extermination camps in Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka, which were operated by the same staff and in the same method.

As Prof. Klaus Dörner, a well known German psychiatrist, put it: “I believe I can say that Auschwitz and Treblinka would have never existed without the psychiatric killing machinery”.

The Gas Chamber at the Bernburg T4 Killing Center

Rüdin was never indicted or judged for his crimes afer WWII. In fact, afer his release he went back to his former position, as the head of the Psychiatric Research Institute in Munich. Only recently, through research of German historians, enough documented data emerged to show the true extent and severity of Rüdin’s actions and their true effects.

Thus, in the 2019 Moot-Court, the international team of youth took an additional crucial step in the process of bringing to justice to the architects of genocide, and brought Ernst Rüdin to trial.

The training:

The training program leading up to the trial involved lectures to the young participants by the Chairman of the UN Human Rights Committee, Prof. Yuval Shani; Yad Vashem Fellow Researcher Dr. Etienne Lepicard; USHMM Fellow Researcher Dr. David Deutsch; former Deputy President of the Israeli Supreme Court Prof. Elyakim Rubinstein, and others. The students toured the Supreme Court, held meeting at the offices of a top law firm and attended lectures in Van Leer Institute. Finally, they underwent intense training with the staff of “Move” Acting Studio in Tel-Aviv on how to present their arguments.
The project and the event at its end were a success thanks to the support of the Israeli Ministry of Education and the participation of a large number of international and national entities and personalities, both from the academic, judicial and governmental sectors, from Israel, Austria, Germany, U.S.A, Canada and England.

Judges and Participants in the Moot Court:

• Hon. Judge Michael Mukasey, United States Attorney General and Federal Judge (Ret.)
• Hon. Irwin Cotler, P.C., O.C., former Justice Minister of Canada
• Prof. Yuval Shany, Chairman of the United Nations Human Rights CommiZee
• Hon. Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, Vice President
Israeli Supreme Court (Ret.)
• Hon. Justice Christoph Flügge, ICTY (Ret.), IRMCT
• Hon. Justice Paulo Pinto de Albaquerque, ECHR
• Hon. Lady Hazel Cosgrove, Scotland Supreme Courts, Her Majesty’s Privy Council
• Dr. Christiane Druml, UNESCO Chair on
Bioethics, Medical University of Vienna
• Prof. Asa Kasher, Chair of Ethics, Tel-Aviv University
• Prof. Shimon Shetreet, Hebrew University of
• Dr. Etienne Lepicard, Ashkelon College
• Dr. David Deutsch, Research Fellow, United
States Holocaust Memorial Museum
• Prof. Alon Chen, Acting Director of the Max
Planck Ins*tute for Psychiatry and President
Elect of the Weizmann Institute for Science
• Prof. Sheila Faith Weiss, Clarkson University
• Prof. (Emeritus) Micha Poper, Dept. of Psychology, Haifa University
• Prof. Leonid Eidelman, President-Elect of the World Medical Association
• Prof. Frank Ulrich Montgomery, President of the German Medical Association

Additional Academic Advisers:

• Prof. Paul Weindling, Oxford Brookes University
• Prof. (Emeritus) William E. Seidelman, MD., University of Toronto
• Adv. Arie Barnea, State of Israel and Yad Vashem Education Prize Laureate
• Prof. Sheldon Rubenfeld, Clinical Professor of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine

Partner and Endorsing Institutes:

• Israeli Ministry of Education
• Israeli Supreme Court
• Israeli Bar Association
• The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
• Tel-Aviv University
• The World and German Medical Associations
• Ashkelon Academic College
• Move Acting Studio
• Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, Québec
• Project on Ethics and the Holocaust, Eli Wiesel Centre for Jewish Studies, Boston University
• Centre for Medicine aier the Holocaust, Houston, Texas Professional actors from Israel and Germany portrayed the defendant and key witnesses including renowned Israeli actor Alex Ansky and the actress Michaela
Maxi Schulz from Berlin.



The Moot Court garnered positive media in Israel and all over the world, including articles in the British Jewish Chronicle and the European NewEurope magazine.

The President of the Israeli Supreme Court hosting the international experts and judges who took part in the Moot Court in Jerusalem

The Aiermath

Afer holding the three events of the International Moot Court in January and February this year, the Israeli Ministry of Education adopted the project as its own and integrated it in the Israeli educational system in various ways:

  • A 50 minute video was produced out of the highlights of the Moot Court itself, to be shown to all students who travel on delegations to Poland.
  • Lectures were delivered on the subject by the project’s staff to hundreds of students, together with a screening of the video of the Moot Court.
  • An acting studio took the trial as a theme for a full theatrical play, to be performed in high-schools along with group discussions on the subject of racism.


More developments:

  • A documentary film is in the making on the life of Rüdin and the Jerusalem Moot Court itself.
  • The full materials of the trial — historical background, legal arguments of the prosecution and defense, original documents collected from archives in Germany and translated to English, charts and other evidence and the written decisions of the renowned judges — have been compiled into a book which is in its final stages of editing (both in Hebrew and in English).
  • Another book is being written in partnership with ECHR Judge Paulo Pinto de Albuquerque on Human Rights Law in Israel vis-a-vis the ECHR.

Educational Kit based on the trial's materials

Our team is now developing the materials gathered for this trial into a standard, top of the line Educational Kit which can then be used by schools and Educational Systems all over the world, for them to enact their own local Moot Courts.

The lesson of the Moot Court will be that Human Rights and Human Dignity are above any other consideration, dogma or prevailing opinion. As a note, the documentary that is now being worked on is already secured to be part of its materials.

The Moot Court Pilot of 2020

We plan to start with 2-3 countries, with a core of selected students in each geographical location, who will undergo the same curricula for the 2019 Moot Court (using the educational kit which is being prepared). The pilot program will culminate in an International Youth Moot Court at a chosen venue with international significance, such as the European Court for Human Rights, and will be run by delegates from each national team. These delegates will be the top students from the local moot courts — an incentive for all students on the local level to excel.

As in the original program, the event will be the pinnacle of an extensive training program, which will be delivered by top scholars and researchers, and will cover the relevant topics, such as Sustainable Development Goals; The Universal Declaration on Human Rights as a guideline for leadership; The Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities; Responsibility of Leaders in International Criminal Law; Authoritarian Sources and Racism; The Specifics of the Case against Ernst Rudin and Developing the arguments for the Defense and Prosecution, and finally drilling the litigation with lawyers and acting instructors. Afer the event the students will be also trained on how to deliver workshops, debates and lectures to others, so they could spread the word.

Our team is already in touch with the relevant establishments, and and international institutions, and many of the experts and judges of the original Moot Court in Jerusalem from last January have expressed enthusiastic support and wish to participate in such an event.

The Moot Court will be the center of an entire day of activities, including a press conference, an academic panel on the subject of Racism and Human Rights and a ceremony of reaffirmation of the UDHR by the attending dignitaries and the youth

litigators. It will serve as an example of the potential the Youth Parliament holds and will signal its launch.

I will be very happy to meet face to face at a time of your convenience, elaborate on the program and answer any questions.