12 March 2018

Africa: Two African Judges Sworn in As New Judges At the International Criminal Court

Photo: Premium Times
Chile Eboe-Osuji

We celebrate two African women who were elected as judges at the International Criminal Court. The two judges, Judge Reine Alapini-Gansou from Benin Republic and Judge Solomy Balungi Bossa from Uganda were sworn in as judges at the ICC, along with four other judges. The judges will serve a 9 year term.

Judge Reine Alapini-Gansou from Benin Republic and Judge Solomy Balungi Bossa from Uganda were sworn in as judges at the International Criminal Court alongside four of their colleagues. The judges were elected for nine-year terms during the 16th session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the Rome Statute in December 2017, the ICC press release said.

In a welcoming address, the ASP President H.E. Mr O-Gon Kwon said "delivering international justice is no easy task. The victims of the most serious international crimes look to these judges to administer justice in situations that have deeply affected their lives and communities. The accused deserve to have trials conducted in a fair, effective and impartial manner. The credibility and legitimacy of the court will to great extent be reflected in your ability to be fair and impartial judges, and your judgement."

Judge Alapini-Gansou spent 12 years at the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR), as Chair of the Commission (2009-2012), and as Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders in Africa (2005- 2009 and 2012 -2017).

She has been a member of several United Nations commissions of inquiries on human rights violations, and chaired the joint working group on special procedures of the United Nations and the African Commission on human and people's rights. In 2011, she was appointed as judge at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, her biography read on the ICC website.

Prior to joining the ICC in 2018, Judge Balungi held various positions as a Judge at the United Nations Mechanism for the International Criminal Tribunals (2012-2018), the African Court of Human and Peoples' Rights (2014-2018) and the Court of Appeal of Uganda (2013-2018). Before that she served as Judge with the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (2003-2013), the East African Court of Justice (2001-2006) and the High Court of Uganda (1997-2013).

She also served as Vice Chairperson of the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute (1993-1999), as Chairperson of the Legal Aid Clinics of the Law Development Centre (1999-2001), as President of the Uganda Law Society (1993-1995) and as Chairperson of Government bodies including the Uganda Law Council (1998-2003) and the National Steering Committee on Community Service (1997-2000).

The judges made a solemn undertaking in open court before the President of the ASP, H.E. Mr O-Gon Kwon.

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