News: Web stories

New ICJ Commissioners fortify defense of rule of law and human rights

The ICJ is pleased to announce the addition of seven new members to the Commission.

They are Dame Silvia Cartwright (New Zealand), Professor Sarah Cleveland (USA), Justice Martine Comte (France), Justice Willy Mutunga (Kenya), Ms Mikiko Otani (Japan), Mr Wilder Tayler (Uruguay) and Justice Lillian Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza (Uganda).

“The ICJ is pleased to welcome seven new Commissioners, five of whom are women, whose wealth of experience and expertise from a diverse range of legal backgrounds will greatly add to the Commission,” said the ICJ’s Acting President, Professor Robert Goldman.

“The addition of such strong new Commissioners helps ensure that we can carry out our fundamental work in defence of the rule of law and universal human rights at a time when we are witnessing a worldwide attack on respect for human rights and dignity,” he added.

The ICJ is also pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Carlos Ayala (Venezuela) as a new Vice-President.

Professor Ayala has shown a great deal of dedication to the ICJ since his initial election to the Commission in 2012.

Amongst other roles, he has served as chairman of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights and taught constitutional, administrative and human rights law at a number of universities around the world.

“The ICJ’s ability to promote and protect human rights through the rule of law would not be possible without the dedicated Commissioners that make this organization what it is. The newly-appointed Commissioners and Vice-President will greatly enhance the ICJ and I look forward to working with them,” said Goldman.

In addition to the new appointments, Commissioners Roberta Clarke and Justice Sanji Monageng were elected to serve on the Executive Committee.

Eight Commissioners were also re-elected to serve second terms: Justice Radmila Dragicevic-Dicic (Serbia), Mr Shawan Jabarin (Palestine), Justice Egbert Myjer (Netherlands), Justice Qinisile Mabuza (Swaziland), Professor Victor Rodriguez Rescia (Costa Rica), Professor Marco Sassoli (Switzerland), Justice Stefan Trechsel (Switzerland) and Professor Rodrigo Uprimny Yepes (Colombia).

Further information on the new Commissioners

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).

Professor Sarah Cleveland (USA) is the Louis Henkin Professor of Human and Constitutional Rights and faculty director of the Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School. She is currently a member of the UN Human Rights Committee, the US member of the Venice Commission, and former counsel to the US State Department legal adviser. She also serves as coordinating reporter of the American Law Institute’s project on the Restatement (Fourth) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States.

Justice Martine Comte (France) has been a judge in France for more than 30 years, including having served as President of the Orléans Court of Appeal from 2011-2014. Prior to this her judicial career has been extensive and amongst other roles she has served as President of the Pontoise Tribunal of First Instance, President of the Bourgoin-Jallieu Court of First Instance and as Head of the Regional Administrative Department of Paris. She has also served as an Inspector of Judicial Services. Justice Comte is an Officer of the National Order of Merit and Knight of the Légion d’Honneur.

Justice Willly Mutunga (Kenya) served as Chief Justice & President of the Supreme Court, Republic of Kenya, 2011- 2016. He was the Commonwealth Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to the Maldives, 2016-17. He is an active member of the Justice Leadership Group. He has a previous career as an academic and in human rights movements in East Africa and Canada, and served as Executive Director of the Eastern Office of the Ford Foundation, 2004-2011.

Ms Mikiko Otani (Japan) Mikiko Otani 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.

Mr Wilder Tayler (Uruguay) is a Director of the National Institution of Human Rights and Ombudsman’s Office in Uruguay. He was Secretary-General of the International Commission of Jurists from 2008-2017. Between 2007 and 2014 he was a member and Vice-Chairperson of the UN Sub-Committee on the Prevention of Torture. Mr Tayler was Legal Director of Human Rights Watch from 1997 to March 2007 and before that he worked with Amnesty International as Director of the Americas Programme and a Legal Advisor.

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. 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. She is an author of law textbooks currently in use as reference texts in East African Law Schools.

More information about all the Commissioners can be found on the Commission page.


March 6, 2018