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The 15-judge bench that will determine Kenya-Somali case

By Kamau Muthoni | October 12th 2021

Ronny Abraham leads the bench. [Courtesy]

A 15-judge bench will determine Somalia’s case on coastline against her neighbour Kenya.

Ronny Abraham, a French national who has been judge in the court from 2005, leads the bench. Born on September 5, 1951, he is a professor of international law.

Judge Ronny’s deputy is a Somali National. Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf was born in Eyl, Somalia in 1948. He has been in the court for seven years and holds a doctorate in international law.

Another judge is a Japanese. Hisashi Owada was born in Niigta, Japan, on September 18, 1932. He is a professor of international law in New York University.

Justice Peter Tonka (Slovakia) is a member of permanent court of arbitration and he is the immediate former president of the International Court of Justice. He handed over the leadership to judge Ronny on February 6, 2015.

The other two judges who represent Africa are a Moroccan and a Ugandan. Judge Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco) joined the court in 2006. He is a professor of international law.

Ugandan judge Julia Sebutinde on the other hand joined the court in 2012. She was born on February 6, 2012, in Entebbe and is the only lady judge representing Africa in ICJ. She has a Doctorate in law from Edinburgh, U.K.

Justice Antonio Augusto Trindade(Brazil) was born on September 17, 1947, and had a PHD in international law. He is a member of ICJ since February 6, 2009.

At the same time judge Christopher Greenwood ( UK) joined the court the same day with Augusto. He was born in Wellingborough on May 12, 1955.

The dispute was filed by Somalia’s Foreign Affairs and Investment Promotion Minister in August 2014. [Courtesy]

Judge Xue Hanqin (China) is the only lady representing Asian counties in the Court. She joined the court on June 29, 2010, and is a professor at Wuhan University teaching law.

Judge Joan Donoghue( USA) was born in Yonkers, New York. She has worked at the United States Department of State as a deputy legal advisor. She is a professor of law at George Washington University School of law.

Justice Giorgio Gaja(Italy) joined the court on February 6, 2012, whereas Daiveer Bhandari ( India) joined two months after. Bhandari was a judge in India for more 20 years.

Judge Patrick Lipton (Jamaica) is one year old in ICJ. He has been working with United Nations from 1972.

James Crawford (Australia) also joined ICJ last year and has both a lecturer and a lawyer in country.

Kirill Gevorgian (Russia) worked at the ministry of foreign affairs and joined the court at the same time as Crawford.

Belgium national Phillipe Couvreur completes the bench. He joined ICJ on February 3, 2014. He was born in Schaerbeek.

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