Club Feature: JCU’s New Mock Trial Club

A look into JCU’s newest organization for the development of skills in law and debate.


By Nicole di Maria and Thais Carrion / Matthew staff || Edited by Giulia Leo

A new club was created  this Spring  semester at John Cabot University that gives students the possibility to apply and expand their knowledge of law typically learned in International Affairs classes: The Mock Trial Club. Fueled by a love for law, Betselot Dejene and Emmanuele Pampanini founded the club in hopes of creating “a community where [students] can grow together and develop [their] skills.” Club membership is open to everyone regardless of court and trial experience, and it is geared towards helping students gain communication and public speaking skills along with an understanding of defense proceedings, according to club founders. 

Members of The Matthew Thais and Nicole attended a workshop of the Mock Trial Club, where Betselot and Emanuele provided tactical background on trial proceedings and the anatomy of a court case to a room of determined, note-taking students. 

Meeting twice a month on Thursdays from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., typical meeting proceedings involve workshops, trial simulations, and informational trial sessions, says Betselot. Regarding student involvement and specific trial details, the members do their best to simulate the constraints of a real international court case, following procedures and rules that would apply in an established court.  

Pulling from International Criminal Court (ICC) cases, Betselot and Emmanuel “modify the charges or pick certain [cases] to focus on” for the club simulations. “For our competitions, we plan to create a case based on previous ones just so we can have something original and exciting,” she said.   

There are several advantages to taking part in the Mock Trial club. Along with building one’s knowledge on the inner workings of international law and how courts deal with criminal cases, Betselot said the club members can “gain communication and public speaking skills, as well as skills on how to develop a fact-based argument and persuade people.”  

The Mock Trial Club provides a space within the JCU community to apply a wide range of debate and trial experience, as well as a space for students hoping to learn more about the world and debate to broaden their understanding of court proceedings as they see fit. “It is a club that allows people to learn how to frame an argument and support it with facts and how to defend it as well,” Betselot said “A club that ties together different aspects clubs like MUN, IR Society and others.” 

If you would like to get in touch with the Mock Trial or any other club, please do not hesitate to contact