Eight high school students from New Mexico were the only Americans who participated in the recent and esteemed Model International Criminal Court (MICC) mock trials in Europe. The MICC is a simulation of the International Criminal Court. They were selected by New Mexico Human Rights Projects (www.nmhrp.org), the one organization in the U.S. invited to attend and send students.
The New Mexican teens who returned from this two-week judicial jaunt and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity were: John Chappell (Albuquerque Academy), Mollie Baland (V. Sue Cleveland HS), Neil Sparks (Sandia HS), Madeline Cunnings (Bosque Prep), Campbell Galon (Academy for Technology & Classics, Santa Fe), Max Bernstein (Albuquerque Academy), Prestin Nikolai (V. Sue Cleveland HS), and Annelise Van Buren (V. Sue Cleveland HS).
The MICC trials took place from February 16 to February 21, 2014, at the International Youth Center in Krzyzowa, Poland – once a part of Germany. About 210 miles southeast of Berlin, the Krzyzowa International Youth Center is a historical site where a German resistance group against the Nazi regime, the “Kreisau Circle,” developed the plans for a democratic rebuilding of post-World War II Germany.
Working in international teams with high school students from Germany, Poland and Israel, the students took on the roles of judges, prosecutors, defenders and observing journalists in three historical war crime cases from the Nuremberg Tribunals, the Former Yugoslavia Tribunal and the Rwanda Tribunal. Real journalists and real attorneys with expertise in international justice provided guidance and training.
As part of the overall MICC experience, the students were fortunate to add a few days in Amsterdam to the outset of their itinerary. There, they visited The Hague to sit in on the real trial of Radovan Karadovic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. In addition, the group visited museums and other cultural sites, and was treated to a private tour of the Anne Frank House. The last day of their trip, they visited the Brandenburg Gate and the German Bundestag in Berlin.
Barry van Driel, International Director for Curriculum Development and Teacher Education at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, had this to say about NMHRP’s involvement in the MICC program:
“New Mexico Human Rights Projects, under the direction of founder and executive director, Regina Turner, has demonstrated time and time again to have the capacity to successfully engage young people in learning about crucial societal issues at local, national and international levels. NMHRP has a track record that few can match. When I was asked by the Kreisau-Initiative in Berlin which organization in the United States would be reliable, committed and up to the task I did not hesitate to recommend NMHRP.”
In further recognition of NMHRP’s MICC delegation, today officials with the Federal Bureau of Investigation held a special ceremony for the recently returned group at the F.B.I.’s Albuquerque Field Office. The students had the opportunity to reunite and share their experience. At the ceremony they also received certificates of recognition from N.M. Representative W. Ken Martinez, Speaker of the House. “We are proud, impressed and encouraged by these young people’s interest in and commitment to righting international crime, it sounds like they represented the U.S. very well,” said Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee. “We hope they will apply this experience and their enthusiasm for justice into their schools, communities and ultimately, careers.”