The team from Erasmus University Rotterdam in Netherlands is this year’s winner the European Human Rights Moot Court Competition. The members of the team are Almers Berg, Alfons Appelo, Bass Adelmar, and team leader Dirix De Veen.

The team demonstrated strong potential right from the start. They drafted a proposal for the human rights case regarding the recent terrorist attacks in different parts of Europe. They took a firm stand against the use of coercive interrogation techniques by law enforcers. They cited different studies and presented various situations wherein individuals were harmed when these interrogation techniques were used. According to De Veen, their premise is based on the recognition of human rights and respect for human dignity as the foundation for freedom, justice, and peace. They clarified those considered acts of torture such as rape, beating, burning, mutilation, applying electric shock, hanging by the hands or feet, almost drowning or suffocating the suspect, forcing the suspect to stand spread-eagled against the wall, being forced to, being subjected to extreme sensory stimuli, deprivation of food, water or sleep, and other measures that cause severe pain or suffering on the suspect. They supported the recommendation of the Convention Against Torture in their draft saying that European nations should have a systematic review of their interrogation policies and practices to prevent any act of torture.

According to Alfons Appelo during one of the interviews, as human rights advocates, they believe that we can obtain crucial information through legal methods and professional interrogation without having to resort to inhumane treatment. They also stated that there was no assurance of the credibility of information derived from torture victims. The use of torture and coercive techniques is heavily laden with moral and ethical considerations. The team believes that we have nothing to lose if we do not use torture since it is not proven to be an effective measure to obtain critical and valid information. On the other hand, we have everything to gain in upholding the rights of every individual and following the rule of law. They claim that European nations will become a model for other countries as they push for the recognition of human rights and being steadfast in principles and values and remain true to the ideals of freedom, peace, and justice.

They were also able to defend these claims confidently before the judges during the oral part of the competition. Erasmus University Rotterdam is proud of their students. Their School of Law is recognized as one of the best in the region because of their intensive background in theoretical and practical knowledge. Congratulations to our participants from Erasmus University Rotterdam!