WOMEN CHIEF JUSTICES ACROSS AFRICA
Click below to read our background paper:
Her Ladyship Chief Justice: The Rise of Female Leadership in the Judiciary in Africa
Conceptia Denis Ouinsou
President, Constitutional Court, 1998-2008.
Dr. Conceptia Denis Ouinsou was born in Grande Saline, Haiti in 1942. For her primary schooling, she attended the Soeurs de la Ste Trinite and College St. Pierre in the capital of Haiti. Following this preliminary education, Dr. Ouinsou received her baccalaureate degree and subsequently went to the Universite d’Etat d’Haiti to receive a license of Social Studies and Administration. She eventually attended and graduated with a degree in Legal Studies in law school in Haiti merely three years later.
As the valedictorian of her law school class, Dr. Ouinsou was enabled to earn a scholarship to seek a diploma in criminal sciences at the University of Paris II. Following this degree, Dr. Ouinsou acquired a doctorate in private law in also at the University of Paris II. She then immigrated to Benin in 1977, following her marriage with a Beninese man.
Upon arrival, she taught at the assistant professor level at the National University of Benin. In order to become a professor, she sought her aggregation in private law, a competitive examination for civil service required for a candidate to become an agrégé able to teach at a professor level. In 1985, with this certification in hand, she rose through the ranks of the University of Abomey-Calavi, becoming the Chair of the School of Law, Director of Academic Affairs, and finally Minister of Higher Education and Social Research. It was from this position that she was nominated to be the Counsel of Constitutional Court before becoming the President of the Court in 1998. Her fellow court members elected her to the President position.
She served in this role until 2008 upon which she had accumulated several honors from the governments of Germany, Haiti, and Benin. She continued to teach at University of Abomey-Calavi until her death in 2011.