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Commissioners from Africa

Justice Azhar Cachalia – South Africa
Azhar Cachalia is currently serving his third term as a Commissioner, having been elected in 2011, and he was elected to the Executive Committee in 2012. He is currently a Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa. Before this he served as Judge of the South African High Court from 2001 – 2005. In 1983 he was a founding member of the United Democratic Front (a coalition of anti-apartheid organizations in South Africa) and has worked with numerous community organizations throughout his life. Between 1977-1989 he was detained and banned on several occasions for his anti-apartheid activity. From 1996-1999 he served in Government as Secretary for Safety and Security. In 1999 he returned to legal practice.


Justice Moses Hungwe Chinhengo – Zimbabwe
Justice Moses Hungwe Chinhengo, from Zimbabwe, is currently serving his third term as Commissioner, having been first elected in 2009 and then again in 2014. He is one of the three drafters of the new constitution of Zimbabwe. From March 2004 – March 2012 he was a Judge of the High Court of Botswana. He previously served as a Judge of the High Court of Zimbabwe, resigning from that position in 2004 due to what he perceived as executive interference in the judiciary in Zimbabwe. Prior to becoming a judge he worked as a practicing lawyer for several years. From 1983 to 1989 he worked for the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and rose to the position of Chief Law Officer in the Legislative Department of the Ministry. In 2013 he co-founded the African Institute of Mediation and Arbitration (AIMA) in Harare, Zimbabwe and is a managing director of the Institute. Currently he is an arbitration and mediation practitioner. He is also a lecturer in the Department of Procedural Law at the University of Zimbabwe.


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Prof. Michelo Hansungule – Zambia
Michelo Hansungule, from Zambia, is currently serving his third term as Commissioner, following his election first in 2009 and then reelection in 2014. He is currently Professor of Human Rights Law at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa. He has taught international human rights law at several universities worldwide including the University of Lund in Sweden, Mahidol University in Thailand, Essex University in the United Kingdom, University of Abo in Finland and University of Malta. He has taught in outreach programmes in over 48 African and non African countries on human rights protection to judges, lawyers, governments and NGO officials. Professor Hansungule is also a member of the independent technical team established to measure the compliance of countries with the governance and human rights requirements of the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). He is an Independent Expert Member of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, an International Advisor for Kredja International and a Board Member for Minority Rights Group International and UN Women. In 2013 Michelo led SADC Lawyers Election Observer Missions in Zimbabwe and Swaziland. He is currently Board Member for the following journals: Journal of Conflict and Peace Studies, the South African Journal of International Law and the African Human Rights Law Journal. He has written a number of publications on human rights, human rights law and diverse legal subjects.


Jamesina King
Jamesina Essie L. King – Sierra Leone
Commissioner Jamesina Essie Leonora King is the first Sierra Leonean to be sworn in as a Commissioner of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights. In 2007, Commissioner King was the first Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL) and she served in that capacity for two years. She served as Commissioner in the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone from 1996-2016. Prior to this, she worked as a private legal practitioner in Basma & Macaulay, a law firm in Sierra Leone from 1994 to 2006. The Commissioner is a strong advocate of women’s empowerment, peace, security and gender equality. She holds a postgraduate degree from Georgetown University Law Centre, Washington D.C. and a certificate in “Implementing Human Rights Conventions” from the University of Nottingham Human Rights Law Centre in the UK. She is a Leadership Advocate for Women in Africa (LAWA) Fellow, and a past President and founding member of Legal Access through Women Yearning for Equality Rights and Social Justice, an organisation of female lawyers in Sierra Leone dedicated to enhancing women’s access to justice. She was appointed as a judge of the High Court of Sierra Leone in 2017.


Justice Qinisile Mabuza – Eswatini (Executive Committee Member)
Justice Qinisile Mabuza is serving her third term as Commissioner following her election in 2013. She is currently the Principal Judge in the High Court of Eswatini. Additionally, she is the Principal Judge in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Court of Justice, a regional court for the 21 member states in COMESA. She was appointed as a Judge of the High Court of Eswatini in 2005. Since then, she has presided over numerous cases that have demonstrated her willingness to uphold the independence of the judiciary and support human rights. This included the case of an Applicant in a chieftaincy dispute with a daughter of King Sobhuza II, which other judges had refused to hear for fear of victimisation. Judge Mabuza heard the case and ruled in favour of the Applicant. Prior to her appointment to the High Court, Judge Mabuza was a Founding Partner and Attorney at Q.M. Mabuza and Associates. In 1978, Judge Mabuza became the first Swazi woman to be admitted as an attorney of the High Court of Eswatini, then Swaziland. Between 2002 and 2005, she worked as a Lecturer in Law at the University of Swaziland. Judge Mabuza has served as a Non-Executive Director of the Central Bank of Swaziland (1994 – 2005) and as Chairperson of the Swaziland Road Transportation Board (1994 – 1997). She has also worked on a number of Commissions of Enquiry, including as Chairperson of the 2005 Phalala Fund Enquiry. Judge Mabuza has an LLB from the University of Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland. She has a Master of Laws (specialisation in Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure) from the University of South Africa.


Justice Charles Mkandawire – Malawi
Justice Charles Mkandawire is from Malawi. He is currently serving his third term as Commissioner, having first been elected in 2009 and then re-elected in 2014. He is currently seconded from his position as High Court Judge in Malawi to the position of Registrar of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal. As Registrar, he has been responsible for the establishment and operationalisation of the Tribunal from 2006-2014. From 2001-2004 he served as Registrar of the High Court of Malawi and from 1998-2001 as Chair of the Industrial Relations Court in Malawi. He is currently Regional President of the Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association (CMJA) for East, Central and Southern Africa since 2012.


Justice Yvonne Mokgoro – South Africa
Justice Mokgoro, from South Africa, is currently serving her third term on the ICJ Commission, having been elected in 2014. She served her full term as a judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, having been appointed to this position in 1994, and she concurrently served as Chairperson of the South African Law Reform Commission. She was one of only two women on the Constitutional Court and the only black woman. She is also the first black woman to serve on the bench in South Africa. Prior to 1994 Justice Mokgoro had served as an Associate Professor in the Department of Jurisprudence at the University of the Western Cape and worked at the Centre for Constitutional Analysis at the Human Sciences Research Council where she was a specialist researcher in human rights. She obtained her BA Law degree at the North-West University in 1982, the LLB degree two years later, and completed her LLM in 1987 at the same institution. In 1990 she obtained her second Master of Law Degree from the University of Pennsylvania in the USA.Justice Mokgoro continues to act as a resource for non-governmental and community-based organisations. Currently, she is a member on the Council of the South African Institute of Judicial Education, chairing the Curriculum Development Committee. She chairs the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and also serves as a trustee of the Mandela-Rhodes Trust (since its inception). Passionate about education and training, Mokgoro is honorary Professor of a number of South African universities where she had been completed with the degree of Doctor of Laws (honors course). She also continues to lecture at a number of universities outside of South Africa. She is a member of the Open Society Justice Initiative Advisory Board of the New York.


Justice Aruna Devi Narain – Mauritius
A first-time Commissioner, Justice Aruna Devi Narain is Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of Mauritius since 2015. She is also the President of the Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal, which sits in London. She served in a personal capacity as a member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (UN CEDAW Committee) from 2017 to 2022 and was a Vice-Chair and the Rapporteur of the Committee from 2021 to 2022. She graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LL.B, LL.M) and was called to the Bar at the Middle Temple, London and in Mauritius in 1992. She was a law officer at the Attorney-General’s Office of Mauritius from 1993 to 2015, served as the first female Parliamentary Counsel of Mauritius, and was a member of the Law Reform Commission. She is a part-time lecturer in Constitutional Law at the Institute for Judicial and Legal Studies. She was a Designated Judge under the Mauritius International Arbitration Act from 2015 to 2020 and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Mauritius International Arbitration Centre (MIAC) since 2019. She also serves as a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) Financial Assistance Fund Board of Trustees since 2020. She is an Arbitrator under Article 2 of Annex VII of UNCLOS since 2014.


Lillian Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza
Lillian Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza – Uganda
A second term commissioner, Justice Lillian Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza (Uganda) is a Justice of the Supreme Court of Uganda. Prior to joining the Court, she served on Uganda’s Constitutional Court for two years. Prior to her judicial career she facilitated training of judicial officers in various areas such as mainstreaming gender in judicial processes, public interest litigation and adjudicating the right to health at the National, Regional and International Level. Widely published in referred journals she is also author of law text books currently in use as reference texts in East African Law Schools. Before joining the Judiciary, Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs at Makerere University, Uganda, where she was also a Professor of Law.