, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 4 – Two Kenyan judges have landed coveted international appointments, in what Chief Justice Willy Mutunga describes as rising international recognition of the country’s Judiciary.
Appellate Judge Philip Waki was elected President of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone (RSCSL) while High Court Judge Isaac Lenaola was named the Deputy Principal Judge of the East African Court of Justice.
“It is with pleasure and pride that I announce that two Kenyan judges have been appointed to serve in distinguished ranks of two important international courts.”
“In West Africa, 16 judges of the RSCSL have elected Kenya’s Justice Philip Waki of Kenya’s Court of Appeal as the President of the Court for a renewable term of two years,” Mutunga said.
Waki, whose appointment is renewable after two years was elected by 16 judges, drawn from 10 countries, including Sierra Leone, two from Kenya and one each from the United Kingdom, United States, Samoa, Northern Ireland, Botswana, Uganda, Canada and Austria.
Waki will lead the team that will carry on with protection of victims and witnesses who testified during the trials and also follow up with other pending arrests.
Lenaola who is also a member of the Sierra Leone’s Residual Court will serve in the East African Court of Justice – which is an international court – one of the organs of the East African Community established under Article 9 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community.
The Chief Justice said the appointments signalled rising international recognition of Kenya’s Judiciary and its transformation program.
“I am delighted to note that the two distinguished appointments of Justices Waki and Lenaola signal rising international recognition of Kenya’s judiciary and the transformation program it has embarked on which we must protect and promote. It is a strong statement of confidence in the work of our institution and the quality of those who serve in it. It is a great honour for Kenya,” he said.
Lenaola and Waki “will not serve full time. They will be on a roster, and may be called upon to exercise judicial functions in an ad hoc capacity on matters arising from the ongoing legal obligations of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.”
The RSCSL will carry on the work of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) which closed its doors last Friday.
The SCSL which was established to try perpetrators of the civil war that left over 50,000 people dead in Sierra Leone indicted 13 individuals and delivered nine judgements including that of Charles Taylor who is now serving a jail term of 50 years at a UK prison.
The court was opened in 2004 at Freetown in Sierra Leone and only vacated its hearings to The Hague due to security reasons.
The SCSL formed after an agreement between the United Nations and the government of Sierra Leone to prosecutor perpetrators charged with the highest responsibility during the war in 1991 and 2002.