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Mechanism Mourns the Loss of Judge Elizabeth Ibanda-Nahamya

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Arusha, The Hague,  6 January 2023– The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism) is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Mechanism Judge Elizabeth Ibanda-Nahamya of Uganda on 5 January 2023.

“The international legal community is losing an accomplished, savvy, and committed Judge with a passion for International Criminal Law, Human Rights, and International Humanitarian Law,” said Judge Graciela Gatti Santana, President of the Mechanism. “Not only was she a fierce advocate for empowering women, which is of vital importance in the field of international justice, but she was also keenly aware of the need to mentor and give a hand up to those following in her footsteps.”

Upon learning of the news, her Colleagues on the bench of Trial Chamber in the case against Félicien Kabuga indicated that they “were mourning the untimely death of their distinguished and much respected Colleague. Judge Ibanda-Nahamya’s personal enthusiasm and invaluable contribution to the work of the Chamber over the last two years will be greatly missed”.

Judge Ibanda-Nahamya was sworn in as a Judge of the Mechanism in March 2018 and served with distinction on several important matters including, the appeal in the case of Ratko Mladić, and most recently, as a member of the Trial Chamber in the ongoing Kabuga case.

Before her appointment to the Mechanism, Judge Ibanda-Nahamya served as a Judge of the International Crimes Division of the High Court of Uganda and as a Judge, and Vice-President, of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone. Additionally, she held important roles as the Principal Defender at the Special Court for Sierra Leone and as the Trial Chamber Coordinator at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Judge Ibanda-Nahamya began her trailblazing career in Uganda, where she participated as a researcher for Uganda’s Constituent Assembly, acted as legal advisor to the Women Caucus of Uganda’s Constituent Assembly, and contributed to Uganda’s 1995 Constitution. Her legacy also includes spearheading the establishment of Transparency Uganda, an anti-corruption NGO, and founding a successful law firm whose work supported indigent citizens, particularly women and children.

Today, in honour of Judge Ibanda-Nahamya, the Mechanism is flying the flag of the United Nations at half-mast at both of its branches in The Hague and Arusha. Books of condolences for Judge Ibanda-Nahamya will be open for signatures at the Hague and Arusha branches of the Mechanism from Monday, 9 January to Wednesday, 18 January 2023. Alternatively, condolence messages may also be sent directly to Judge Ibanda-Nahamya’s family at 

Information about further arrangements will be made available on the Mechanism’s website as soon as possible.

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