Six newly elected judges of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) solemnly declared their commitment “to exercise their powers as judges impartially and conscientiously” during a recent ceremony.

Among the esteemed group of six judges is Mr. Osman Keh Kamara, making history as the first Sierra Leonean to be elected to this distinguished position. This momentous occasion represents a remarkable achievement for Sierra Leone and highlights the country’s growing influence on the international stage.

These judges, elected during the 33rd Meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, are entrusted with a crucial responsibility. They will serve a nine-year term, commencing on October 1, 2023, and will play a pivotal role in interpreting and applying international maritime law, a field of law that holds profound implications for global oceans and seas.

According to Michael Imran Kanu, SJD, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations, who is also a Notary Public and Commissioner for Oaths, he asserts:

“This achievement resonates with one of the major commitments of His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio in international affairs: to see Sierra Leoneans elected or appointed to senior positions within the international system. It underscores the dedication of the Sierra Leonean government to promoting the nation’s representation and influence at the highest levels of international governance”.

The election of Mr. Osman Keh Kamara and his fellow judges to the ITLOS serves as a testament to the caliber of legal expertise within Sierra Leone and reaffirms the country’s commitment to upholding the principles of international law. It is a proud moment for Sierra Leone and a significant step forward in shaping the future of international maritime jurisprudence.