Julia Sebutinde

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Julia Sebutinde
Julia Sebutinde (2013).jpg
Judge of the International Court of Justice
Assumed office
6 February 2012
Preceded byAbdul Koroma
Personal details
Born (1954-02-28) 28 February 1954 (age 65)
Spouse(s)John Bagunywa Sebutinde
Alma materMakerere University
Law Development Centre
University of Edinburgh

Julia Sebutinde is a Ugandan judge on the International Court of Justice. She also is the current chancellor of Muteesa I Royal University a university owned by Buganda kingdom. She has been a judge on the court since March 2012. She is the first African woman to sit on the ICJ.[1][2] Before 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 the Central Region of Uganda to a civil servant and a housewife with the Semambo surname. She attended the 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. Sebutinde graduated with a Bachelor of Laws in 1977. She obtained the Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Center in Kampala in 1978. In 1990, she enrolled at the University of Edinburgh for her Master of Laws, graduating in 1991. In 2009, in recognition of her body of work and contribution to international justice, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws by the University of Edinburgh.[4][5]

Work history[edit]

In Africa[edit]

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[edit]

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 Court of Justice[edit]

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]

Julia Sebutinde is married to 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. ^ "Julia Sebutinde – First African Woman Sworn in As Judge of UN Court". TheHabariNetwork.Com. Xinhua News Agency. 12 March 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  3. ^ Kalibbala, Gladys (19 August 2008). "Entebbe's Former School of Glory Fades". New Vision. Archived from the original on 9 August 2014. 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. Archived from the original on 8 August 2014. 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. ^ "Law School Graduate Nominated for Election to the International Court of Justice". The University of Edinburgh School of Law. 26 October 2011. 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. Archived from the original on 20 July 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2014.

External links[edit]