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Elizabeth Ibanda-Nahamya

Elizabeth Ibanda-Nahamya

Judge, Residual Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals
Former Deputy Principal Defender for the Special Court for Sierra Leone
Judge, High Court Uganda (Former Deputy Head of the International Crimes Division)

My Story, Your Inspiration

I was born in an almost all girls family at a time when girls were not considered to be at par with the boys. My father and mother were my pillars as they believed that I could achieve what I wanted in life. Their outlook was crucial in my formative years and later in adulthood. They inculcated in me values such as patience, resilience, working hard, being optimistic, self-confidence and persistence. I was fortunate to have a professional father who fully believed in his daughters. My mother was naturally bright and a determined person who wanted her daughters to have the opportunities that she never had.

The chance to attend one of the best girls’ schools in the country positively impacted my life. I studied law at the University at a time when fewer women were admitted to study law. This turned me into a competitive, resilient and confident person. I am an avid researcher and I enjoy mentoring young lawyers. I find satisfaction in seeing a mentee transition into an equal partner. A major challenge in my career was the non-acceptability of my capability by male colleagues. Another was the missed job opportunities owing to the Anglophonic education system.

Every woman should believe in herself. Academically, some women can do more than what men can do. I advise women to focus on their goals. This is a key to success. It is imperative that as one woman progresses, she must find the hand of another woman to lift upwards. Should one experience any setback, count it as a learning process and an opportunity to work hard towards excellence. It is important to realise that if any of us succeed, we all benefit so act in solidarity and build one another. I would also advise that successful women in law should mentor the young ones to ensure that those whom we leave behind will appropriately step into our shoes and carry on the good work started. A legacy left behind is a career catalyst for enhancement of those following in our footsteps.

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