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Congratulations to Judge Julia Sebutinde of the International Court of Justice.

By J. Jarpa Dawuni, Ph.D.

Maame Ama Adu-Mensah


The Institute of African Women in Law extends sincere congratulations to Judge Julia Sebutinde of Uganda and Judge Hanqin Xue on their well-deserved re-election to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a second term respectively.


May the glass ceilings continue to shatter, one woman at a time (no, more women at a time)!

Although the recent re-election of the two women judges is commendable, more work remains to be done to ensure gender parity on the ICJ bench and in other international organizations and bodies. Having one or two women assume international positions at a time cannot make up for the years of injustice done to women due to global patriarchy at all levels. The Institute for African Women in Law therefore urges the ICJ, the UN, the AU and other international bodies to realign themselves to the UN’s commitment to gender equality, and ensure that judicial selection processes to international courts meet the highest standards of equal opportunity, inclusion and diversity, while maintaining standards of merit, integrity and professionalism.


We need a critical mass of women in international bodies and organizations. Women ought to be included in their masses simply because gender equality cannot wait!

Judge Sebutinde’s re-election took place with three other candidates who are current members of the Court, after a single round of voting conducted simultaneously but independently by the Security Council and the General Assembly on November 11 and 12, 2020. Julia Sebutinde together with Hanqin Xue (China), the incumbent Vice-President; Peter Tomka (Slovakia) and Yuji Iwasawa (Japan) were re-elected whilst Georg Nolte (Germany) is the newest addition to the judges of the Court. The elected judges are poised to serve nine-year terms beginning from 6 February 2021.