Commissioners from Asia-Pacific

Kyong Whan kenny-ahn_clip_image001

Professor Kyong-Whan Ahn – Republic of Korea
Professor Kyong-Whan Ahn, from the Republic of Korea, is currently serving his first term as an ICJ Commissioner, having been elected in 2014. Professor Ahn is currently a professor emeritus at the Seoul National University Law School, prior to his retirement he taught at the University from 1987 to 2007. He served until July, 2009 as Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, appointed by the President of the Republic of Korea in October 2006. From March 2007 until his retirement from NHRIK , he was Deputy Chair at the International Co-ordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions – an association of national human rights institutions worldwide. As legal scholar, he worked as the President of the Korean Constitutional Law Association (1999-2001) and a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Asian Law Institute (2003-2004). From 2003 through 2004, he served as Chairman at the Committee of Legal Policy of the Ministry of Justice and University Reformation Committee of the Ministry of Education. Kyong-Whan Ahn has been actively engaged with the civil society. He was a founding chairman of the steering committtee of People’s Solidarity for the Participatory Democracy, one of leading NGOs in Korea. Following retirement from university in 2013, he has been the President of Gong-gam, a non-profit human rigths legal foundation in Korea. Throughout his career, Kyong-Whan Ahn has published extensively, in both Korean and English, in the fields of the Anglo-American law, constitutional law, law and literature, and human rights law. He holds a Juris Doctor from Santa Clara University, an LL.M. from the University of Pennsylvania and an LL.B. from Seoul National University. He was admitted to the State Bar of California and the District of Columbia Bar. He was a Chevening scholar to London School of Economics and Political Science in 1990-1991.


Justice Adolfo Azcuna – The Philippines
Justice Adolfo S. Azcuna, from the Philippines, is currently serving his first term as ICJ Commissioner, having been elected in 2014. He served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines from 2002 to 2009. He was appointed to the Court by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on October 24, 2002. He is the current Chancellor of the Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA), having been appointed to that position by the Supreme Court of the Philippines on June 1, 2009. On January 8, 2013, the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Senate Philippines and the Insular Life Assurance Co., Limited, conferred to Justice Azcuna the 2012 The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) Award in the field of Justice/Law. He joined a roster of 115 other Filipinos who have been previously recognized as Outstanding Filipinos.


Silvia Cartwright
Dame Silvia Cartwright – New Zealand
A first term commissioner, Dame Silvia Cartwright (New Zealand) was Governor-General of New Zealand from 2001-2006 and the first woman appointed to the High Court in New Zealand. She was also a judge on the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. Amongst others, she has the following honours: Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE) and Principal Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (PCNZM). Dame Cartwright has served on the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and played a role in drafting the optional protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). In 2006 Ewha Woman’s University, Seoul, Korea awarded her an honorary doctorate, and she holds honorary doctorates from three New Zealand Universities.


Justice Elizabeth Evatt – Australia
Elizabeth Evatt is currently serving her third term as Commissioner. She was first elected in 2003 and re-elected in 2008 and 2013. She has been a member of the Australian Section of the ICJ for many years. Prior to this she served as a member of the Human Rights Committee (1993 to 2000) and a member of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (1984-1992). In Australia she has served as Commissioner of the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (1995 to 1998) and President of the Australian Law Reform Commission (1988 and 1993). From 1976 to 1988 she was Chief Judge of the Family Court of Australia. She studied Law at the University of Sydney and at Harvard Law School.


Imranan Jalal
Ms Imrana Jalal – Fiji
Imrana Jalal is currently serving her third term as Commissioner following her election in 2006 and re-election in 2011, and she has been a member of the ICJ Executive Committe untils 2017. She is a Fijian human rights lawyer, but is currently working for the Asian Development Bank in Manila as a gender specialist. She is a former Commissioner of the Fiji Human Rights Commission. Imrana is a founding member of the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement and the Suva based, Pacific Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT).


Mikiko Otani
Ms Mikiko Otani – Japan
A first term commissioner, Ms Mikiko Otani (Japan) is a member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) (2017-) and a former Chair of the Committee on International Human Rights of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations. Prior to being elected as a member of the CRC, she was actively involved in the reporting process for Japan under the CRC and the CEDAW, representing NGOs. Admitted to the Tokyo Bar Association in 1990, Ms. Otani holds a Bachelor of Law from Sophia University in Tokyo (1987), Master of International and Public Affairs from Columbia University in New York (1999) and Master of Law from the University of Tokyo (2003).


Justice Shah
Justice Ajit Prakash Shah – India
Justice Ajit Prakash Shah, from India, is currently serving his first term as an ICJ Commissioner, having been elected in 2014. Justice Shah is currently the Chairman of the Law Commission of India. He is also a Member of Governing Council appointed by the Ministry of Law and Justice for Judicial Reforms. Justice Shah retired as the Chief Justice of the High Court of Delhi in February, 2010. He was appointed as the Judge of Bombay High Court in 1992 and was later elevated to the office of Chief Justice, Madras High Court in 2005 and on transfer took over as Chief Justice, Delhi High Court on 11th May, 2008 till his retirement. Justice Shah has delivered several landmark and prominent judgments during his tenure ranging on diverse issues such as: Application of the Right to Information Act to the office of the Chief Justice of India; Decriminalization of homosexuality; Freedom of Speech and Expression;Environment and Ecological matters; Protection of disabled person; Laws relating to women; Contract Labour; Child Labour; Employment Rights of HIV affected persons. While he was Chief Justice of the Tamil Nadu High Court and Delhi High Court, he directed various steps for computerisation and networking of all courts in Tamil Nadu, including introduction of e-courts. Since retirement he has led a Committee appointed by the Ministry in Planning Commission for drafting Privacy Law and Data Protection Law and has also held a number of People’s Hearings / Tribunals on issues such as violence against Christians in Kandhamal (Odisha), displacement of people for Narmada Dam and injustices against local people at nuclear plants. From 2010 – 2013 he was Chairperson of the Broadcasting Complaints Council (BCCC), a self-regulatory body appointed by Indian Broadcasting Foundation.


JL OMeally
Justice John Lawrence O’Meally – Australia
John Lawrence O’Meally is serving his first term as an ICJ Commissioner having been elected in 2015. Justice O’Meally is a mediator accredited by the Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators of Australia, and on the New South Wales (NSW) Bar Association’s list of mediators for cases in the Supreme Court of NSW. He is a graduate of the University of Sydney and was admitted to the NSW and Australian Bars in 1964 and then later to the Papua New Guinea Bar and Western Pacific Bar. He has worked as a barrister and judges in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Antigua and Barbados. He has been a Consultant to the Governments of St Lucia on Restructuring the District Court and the Solomon Islands on Restoration of the Legal System. He is a Member of Council of the Australian Section of the ICJ and President of the NSW Branch.


Justice Kalyan Shrestha
Justice Kalyan Shrestha – Nepal
Justice Kalyan Shrest, from Nepal, is serving his first term as ICJ Commissioner having been elected in December 2016. Justice Shrestha was Chief Justice of the Nepalese Supreme Court from 2005 until his retirement in 2016. Prior to this he served in a number of judicial roles including as Chief Judge of the Appellate Court Jumla, a Judge of various Zonal, District and Appellate courts, Under Secretary in the Ministry of Justice and Law and as a Section Officer for the Supreme Court and Government of Nepal. Justice Shrestha has also held a number of senior roles in judicial bodies including as Chairperson of the Constituent Assembly Court, President of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation in Law, President of the Judges Society Nepal and as a Member of the Judicial Services Commission.