NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 12 – Supreme Court Judge Isaac Lenaola has been named the 2019 Jurist of the Year by the Kenya Section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ-K).
ICJ-K Executive Director Abdulkadir Issa Noor said the Judge known for his calm demeanor was bestowed the award for consistently, fearlessly and impartially espousing values and ideals that have immensely contributed to the promotion and protection of human rights, the rule of law, justice and democracy in Kenya and the Africa region.
In his acceptance speech, the 52-year-old judge said the judiciary and other arms of the criminal justice system need to be equipped with necessary tools in order to adequately play its role in the fight against graft.
Justice Lenaola dedicated the award to his wife who he described as pillar and a rock for the last 21 years in which she has had to endure periods of absence many times while he was away on duty.
Last year’s award was given to High Court judge George Odunga.
The award was introduced in 1993, to acknowledge and honour the contributions of an exceptional Jurist who has worked selflessly and courageously towards the promotion and protection of human rights, justice, rule of law and good governance in Kenya and to commemorate the International Human Rights Day.
Other previous winners include Senior Counsel Paul Muite, Lady Justice Mumbi Ngugi and Narc-Kenya Party Leader Martha Karua.
Others who have also won the award are former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, constitutional expert Prof Yash Pal Ghai, Siaya Senator James Orengo, Pheroze Nowrojee, Makueni Governor Prof Kivutha Kibwana, Lawrence Mute and Nzamba Kitonga amongst others.
The late human rights lawyer Willie Kimani was post-posthumously named the 2016 Jurist of the Year in recognition of his work after he paid the ultimate price while defending human rights.