AMANDLA! WOMEN TO WATCH EDITION
Trial Attorney, International Criminal Court, The Hague.
Why did you decide to study law?
I come from a family of eight girls and two boys. I recall in my younger years my Father encouraged me to pursue my education despite the cultural point of view that it was futile to educate a girl child. This early childhood support instilled in me a confidence in my capacity and ability and enabled me to pursue my dream of a law degree despite all the challenges I faced. I recall that when I was to get into the University to read law, the Professor in charge of admissions kept urging my Father to persuade me to study any other course but law because of my young age but I stood my ground, insisted I was going to read law and eventually the University accepted me for a law degree.
What is your proudest professional moment thus far?
Every time the victims of these most heinous crimes, tell me in very simple words how appreciative they are of the efforts made in giving them a voice in the proceedings and allowing them have their day in Court to tell their story, it gives me the greatest professional satisfaction.
Looking back, what is one decision/action you would have done differently?
I would not change anything for a minute.
Share some major professional challenges you have faced, or continue to face as a woman in law.
As a woman, you must break through the glass ceiling that face women all over the world and the unconscious biases that comes with being a woman of color. My greatest professional challenge therefore has been to always strive to push through and push beyond any kind of limitation by giving my very best in any capacity I am called to operate in – whether in prosecuting some of the worst criminals from the genocide in Rwanda or handling some of the most complex cases at the ICC.
What are some practical strategies for survival in the legal profession?
It is good to have a sound knowledge of the law and to pursue one's education to the highest degree possible, but it is more important to have a determination to make an impact in the legal profession. The dream of making an impact must be kept alive no matter the degree of opposition and challenges that we face. Continuing education and keeping a useful network is important to achieve the dream of making a worldwide impact in the profession.