How Museveni helped Justice Sebutinde secure her job at International Court of Justice

Justice Julie Sebutinde; Courtesy Photo

Details have emerged how President Museveni helped Justice Julie Sebutinde secure her seat at the International Court of Justice.

Justice Sebutinde won a second term as the judge to the Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the elections that were held at the UN offices in New York on 12th November 2020.

According to a statement from the Foreign Affairs ministry, Justice Dr. Sebutinde’s re-election was spearheaded by president Museveni who strongly commended the judge to the world leaders in his address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 29, 2020.

The statement adds that the Foreign Affairs minister Hon Sam Kutesa, working with teams at Uganda’s missions in New York, Addis Ababa and elsewhere, played a key role in the re-election campaign of Justice Sebutinde.

Sebutinde polled 139 votes beating Mr. Emmanuel Ugirasebuta from Rwanda at 87 votes, Mrs. Maja Sersic from Croatia (42 votes) and Mr. Taoheed Ofufemi Elias from Nigeria at 31 votes.

Sebutinde’s victory was sealed in the second round of voting in the UN general assembly and she was voted into office alongside five other judges including Mr. Iwasawa Yuji from Japan, Mr. George Nolte from Germany, Ms. Xue Hanquin from China, Mr. Peter Tonka from Slovakia.

In his congratulatory message to Justice Sebutinde, President Museveni appreciated the team at the foreign affairs ministry for their “tireless effort” to ensure Uganda keeps the slot.

Sebutinde, who has secured another 9-year term at International Court of Justice, has contributed to over 40 judgements and 65 Orders of the court, among other accomplishments.

Sebutinde’s rich profile;

Sebutinde holds a Doctorate of Laws, honoris causa, the University of Edinburgh in the UK, for distinguished service in the field of international justice and human rights (2009). Master of Laws Degree with Distinction (LLM), University of Edinburgh, U.K. (1990).

Julia Sebutinde first worked in the Ministry of Justice in the Government of Uganda from 1978 until 1990. After graduating from the University of Edinburgh, the UK in 1991, she worked in the Ministry of the Commonwealth in the UK.

She later joined the Ministry of Justice in Namibia, which had just attained Independence at that time.

In 1996, she was appointed Judge of the High Court of Uganda. In that capacity, she presided over three commissions of inquiry related to following government departments which included Chairperson, Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Corruption in the Uganda Police Force (1999-2000) which revealed massive rot in the force; Chairperson, Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Mismanagement in the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (2001); Chairperson, Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Corruption in the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).

In 2005 Justice Sebutinde was appointed, with secondment from the Uganda government, to Special Court on Sierra Leone, established by the UN. She was later appointed Presiding Judge of Trial Chamber II of the SCSL (2007-2008, 2010-2011) which handled several high profile war crime trials including the Prosecutor v. Charles Ghankay Taylor; Judge of the High Court of Uganda with original and appellate jurisdiction in civil and criminal cases (1996-2011);

She has also held several other positions which include Chancellor of the International Health Sciences University (IHSU), Uganda (2008-2011); Member, Commonwealth Association of Legislative Drafters (1980-2011); Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) (1996-2011); Member, National Association of Women Judges Uganda (NAWJU) (1996-2011); Member, International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) (1996-2011); Member, Advocates International (AI) (1980-2011); Represented Uganda Women at the opening of the United Nations Decade for Women in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (1975); Chairperson, Board of Directors of the Acid Survivors Foundation Uganda (2000-2004); Recipient of the “Good Samaritan Award” at the Congress of Advocates International (2004); the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Uganda British Alumni Association (UBAA) (2006) and a Special Award of the Uganda Law Society in recognition of her “courageous and exemplary contribution to the promotion of justice in Uganda” (2001); Honouree of the American Biographical Institute in their seventh edition of “Who’s Who of the Professionals 2000”; Named one of “Top 100 Africans of the Year” in the Africa Almanac 2000 among others.



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