Julia Sebutinde

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Julia Sebutinde
Born Uganda
Residence The Hague, Netherlands
Nationality Ugandan
Ethnicity Muganda
Citizenship Uganda
Education Bachelor of Laws (LLB)
Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
Diploma in Legal Practice
Law Development Center, Kampala, Uganda
Master of Laws (LLM)
University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland
Doctor of Laws (LLD)
University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland
Occupation Judge, Academician
Years active 1978 – present
Known for Law
Home town Kampala
Religion Anglican

Julia Sebutinde is a Ugandan jurist currently serving as a judge on the International Court of Justice (ICJ), since March 2012, the first African woman to sit on the World Court.[1][2] Prior to being elected to the ICJ, Sebutinde was a judge of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. She was appointed to that position in 2007.


She was born in Central Uganda to Mr. and Mrs. Semambo, a civil servant and a housewife. She attended Lake Victoria Primary School in Entebbe in the 1960s.[3] She then joined Gayaza High School and later, King's College Budo, before entering Makerere University, to study law. Julia Sebutinde graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Laws (LLB) in 1977. She obtained the Diploma in Legal Practice, from the Law Development Center in Kampala, in 1978. In 1990, she enrolled in the University of Edinburgh for the degree of Master of Laws (LLM), graduating in 1991. In 2009, in recognition of her body of work and contribution to International justice, she was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD), by the University of Edinburgh.[4][5]

Work history[edit]

In Africa

Julia Sebutinde first worked in the Ministry of Justice in the Government of Uganda from 1978 until 1990. After graduating from the University of Edinburgh in 1991, she worked in the Ministry of the Commonwealth in the United Kingdom. She later joined the Ministry of Justice in the Republic of Namibia, which had just attained Independence at that time. In 1996, she was appointed Judge of the High Court of Uganda. In that capacity, she presided over three commissions of inquiry related to the following government departments:

At the Special Court on Sierra Leone

In 2005 Justice Julia Sebutinde was appointed, with secondment from the Uganda government, to the Special Court on Sierra Leone, established by the United Nations. She was later appointed the Presiding Judge in Courtroom II, at that time responsible for hearing the case against former Liberian strongman, Charles Taylor. In that position she refused to attend a disciplinary hearing against Taylor's lawyer, a behaviour which amounts to serious judicial misconduct, but that remained unsanctioned by the Special Court for Sierra Leone.[6][7]

At the International Criminal Court

In the ICJ judges election, 2011,[8] Sebutinde was one of eight candidates for five vacant judicial seats on the International Court of Justice, having been nominated by the national groups of Croatia, Denmark, and Uganda in the Permanent Court of Arbitration.[9] In the election, a successful candidate needs an absolute majority of votes both in the United Nations General Assembly and in the United Nations Security Council.[10] On the first day of voting, four candidates were elected but the fifth position was not filled.[11] When voting adjourned, Abdul Koroma, the incumbent from Sierra Leone, had received 9 votes out of 15 in the Security Council, with 8 votes needed to elect. Over in the General Assembly, after five rounds of voting, Julia Sebutinde, the contender, had received 97 votes out of 193, with 97 votes needed to elect.[12][13] When balloting resumed on 13 December 2011, Sebutinde received an absolute majority of votes in both the Security Council and the General Assembly, and thus was declared elected.[14]

Other responsibilities[edit]

Mrs. Julia Sebutinde is married to Mr. John Bagunywa Sebutinde and together they are the parents of two daughters. She is reported to love music, soccer and swimming. She enjoys Indian cuisine and spicy food. Justice Sebutinde is the Chancellor of the International Health Sciences University, in Kampala, a position she has held since 2008.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Butagira, Tabu (15 December 2011). "Justice Sebutinde Speaks on New World Court Job". Daily Monitor. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  2. ^ News, . (12 March 2012). "Julia Sebutinde – First African Woman Sworn in As Judge of UN Court". TheHabariNetwork.Com Quoting Xinhua News Agency. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  3. ^ Kalibbala, Gladys (19 August 2008). "Entebbe's Former School of Glory Fades". New Vision. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  4. ^ TUoE, . (22 August 2012). "The University of Edinburgh: Honorary Graduates 2008–2009". The University of Edinburgh (TUoE). Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  5. ^ Ssenkaaba, Stephen (29 July 2009). "Justice Sebutinde's Star Still Rising". New Vision. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  6. ^ Heller, Kevin Jon (27 February 2011). "Judge Refuses to Attend Taylor Lawyer's Disciplinary Hearing". OpinionJuris.Org. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  7. ^ Sesay, Alpha (2 March 2011). "One Judge Down: Drama Continues At The Charles Taylor Trial". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  8. ^ News, . (26 October 2011). "Law School Graduate Nominated for Election to the International Court of Justice". The University of Edinburgh School of Law. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  9. ^ United Nations Secretary-General, . (26 July 2011). "UN Doc. A/66/183–S/2011/453: List of Candidates Nominated By National Groups / Note By the Secretary-General". United Nations. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  10. ^ United Nations Secretary-General, . (26 July 2011). "Election of Five Members of The International Court of Justice / Memorandum by The Secretary-General". United Nations. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  11. ^ IPPF, . (11 November 2011). "UN Security Council Elects 4 New ICC Judges". International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) Quoting Pan African News Agency (PANA). Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  12. ^ Press Release • UN Security Council• Department of Public Information • News and Media Division, . (10 November 2011). "SC 6651st–6655th Meetings: Security Council, General Assembly Elect Four New Judges to World Court: Fifth Vacancy Remains to Be Filled, Pending Concurrent Action by Both Bodies". United Nations. 
  13. ^ General Assembly/GA/11171/Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York, . (10 November 2011). "General Assembly, Concurrently with Security Council, Elects Four Judges to International Court of Justice: Seven Balloting Rounds Fail to Fill Remaining Vacancy on World Court". United Nations. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  14. ^ United Nations, . (13 December 2011). "Ugandan Judge Elected To Serve on UN World Court". UN News Centre. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  15. ^ Anthony Bugembe, and Joel Ogwang (3 August 2008). "Health Sciences University Launched". New Vision. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 

External links[edit]