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Newly Elected ICJ Vice President Justice Julia Sebutinde’s Dissenting Vote Sparks Global Debate on International Justice and Human Rights

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Uganda’s esteemed legal luminary, Justice Julia Sebutinde, has secured a prestigious position as the vice president of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). At 69 years old, Sebutinde’s election to this esteemed role marks a testament to her remarkable career in international justice and human rights.

The announcement, made by the court’s registry on Tuesday, signified the culmination of Sebutinde’s tenure as a member of the ICJ since February 6, 2012. She will serve in this capacity for three years, deputizing Judge Nawaf Salam of Lebanon, who was elected president for a similar term.

Sebutinde’s ascent to the vice presidency of the ICJ follows closely on the heels of her pivotal role in adjudicating the Gaza crisis. Her recent ruling, which saw her casting the sole dissenting vote against six emergency measures in response to South Africa’s genocide case against Israel, left many global observers in awe.

The distinguished jurist’s dissenting stance against all measures presented before the 17-judge panel underscores her unwavering commitment to the principles of international law and justice. Notably, her principled approach in this high-profile case has further solidified her reputation as a formidable legal mind on the international stage.

Before gracing the halls of the ICJ, Sebutinde’s illustrious career path was marked by significant contributions to the field of law and justice. From her tenure as a judge at the Special Court for Sierra Leone from 2005 to 2011 to her extensive academic achievements, Sebutinde’s track record exemplifies excellence and dedication.

Born on February 28, 1954, Sebutinde boasts a plethora of academic qualifications, including a Doctorate of Laws from the University of Edinburgh and a Master of Laws Degree with Distinction from the same institution. Her educational journey also includes a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Makerere University and various certifications in legislative drafting and alternative dispute resolution.

Beyond her academic accolades, Sebutinde’s professional trajectory is adorned with numerous judicial and legal positions of influence. Notably, she served as a judge at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, handling high-profile war crime trials, and held roles within the Ugandan judiciary, including as a High Court judge and chairperson of various judicial commissions.

Furthermore, Sebutinde’s dedication to advancing legal education and advocacy extends to her role as a trainer and resource person for various international programs and institutions. Her contributions to peacekeeping and peacebuilding initiatives, alongside her extensive publications on topics ranging from international criminal justice to gender equality, further cement her legacy as a trailblazer in the legal arena.

As Sebutinde assumes her new role as vice president of the ICJ, she brings with her a wealth of experience, integrity, and a steadfast commitment to upholding the rule of law on the global stage. Her appointment stands as a testament to Uganda’s rich legal heritage and the profound impact of its legal luminaries on the international community.

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