International Court of Justice

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Current Members


Judge Abdul G. Koroma

(Member of the Court since 6 February 1994; re-elected as from 6 February 2003)

Born in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

LL.M. (Honours), Kiev State University; Master of Philosophy (International Law), King’s College, University of London; Hon. LL.D., University of Sierra Leone; Barrister-at-Law; Honorary Bencher, Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, London; Hon. Professor, Gujarat National Law University, Gujarat, India.

Joined the Government service of Sierra Leone in 1964 and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1969. As a Barrister and Legal Practitioner of the High Court of Sierra Leone, was appointed State Counsel and Special Adviser to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice. Served as Legal Adviser to the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the United Nations. Served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Sierra Leone to the United Nations, New York, while concurrently accredited as High Commissioner of Sierra Leone to Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and Ambassador to the Republic of Korea (Seoul) and Cuba (1981-1985). Served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Belgium, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands while concurrently accredited to the European Communities and to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) (1985-1988). Served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Sierra Leone to the Organization of African Unity (OAU) with concurrent accreditation to Ethiopia, Kenya, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia (1988-1992); also accredited to Republic of Korea (Seoul) and High Commissioner to Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago (1988).

As delegate to the General Assembly, served on the Sixth Committee (Legal) from 1977 to 1994 and was elected Chairman. Also served as delegate of Sierra Leone to the following United Nations bodies: the Special Committee on the Review of the Charter and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization; the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL); the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space; the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law; served as Chairman of the United Nations Special Committee on the granting of independence to colonial countries and people (Committee of 24); headed various United Nations missions on the observance of the exercise of the right of self-determination in various non-self governing territories.

Represented Sierra Leone at many plenipotentiary conferences, including the United Nations Conference on the Succession of States in respect of Property, Debts and Archives, and was a signatory of the Convention; the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III) and Chairman of the African Group at the Conference. In that capacity, was closely associated with the elaboration of some of the key provisions of the resulting Convention. Was a signatory of the Convention.

Played an active role in and contributed to the elaboration of various contemporary legal instruments. Member of the International Law Commission (January 1982-1994), and Chairman of the Commission during its forty-third session (1991). Former Chairman of the Committee mandated to elaborate a Draft Statute for an International Criminal Court. As a member of the International Law Commission, was an active participant and contributor to the codification and progressive development of such important international legal instruments as the Draft Code of Crimes against Peace and Security of Mankind; Relations between States and International Organizations; the Jurisdictional Immunities of States and their Property; the Law of State Responsibility; the proposed Statute of an International Criminal Court; and the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Water Courses; the articles on most-favoured-nation clauses; the draft articles on the status of the diplomatic courier and the diplomatic bag not accompanied by diplomatic courier, and of the optional protocols thereto.

Contributions to other major areas of international law, including the law of self-determination, human rights law, international humanitarian law, and the peaceful settlement of disputes, and has written and lectured on these subjects. Served as expert consultant with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) at Geneva on the implementation of and respect for international humanitarian law. Has delivered lectures on all of these topics in many countries, including Cameroon, Canada, China, Ethiopia, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malta, Norway, Peru, Sweden, the United Republic of Tanzania and the United States of America.

Participated in conferences, symposiums and seminars on international law, including those held by the International Ocean Institute (Malta and Halifax, Nova Scotia); the International Law Institute (Hawaii); the International Criminal Jurisdiction (Talloires); the International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences; Centre for International Studies, New York University School of Law; the Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee. Also served as external examiner in international law for Ph.D. candidates of the University of Dalhousie, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Member of the American Society of International Law and of the Planning Council of the International Ocean Institute (Halifax and Malta); Member and Vice-President of the African Association of International Law and Comparative Law; President of the African Society of International and Comparative Law; President, Henry Dunant Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (Geneva) (1999-2006); Member of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law, San Remo; Member of the Institute of International Law; Member of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, International Labour Office (Geneva); Member of the Advisory Board of the Manchester Journal of International Economic Law; Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Cologne Commentary on Space Law, Institute of Air and Space Law, University of Cologne; May 2009 Member of the Advisory Board of the Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies (JIHLS).

Awarded the Order of Commander of Rokel by the Government of Sierra Leone for outstanding professional service (1991); the International Institute of Humanitarian Law Prize for the Promotion, Dissemination and Teaching of International Humanitarian Law (2005); and the Order of Grand Officer of the Republic of Sierra Leone (the highest national award) in recognition of his service to the nation in the field of international law and international justice as a judge at the International Court of Justice (2007).

Author of a thesis on the Settlement of Territorial and Boundary Disputes in Africa (University of London). Among articles published: “Humanitarian Intervention and Contemporary International Law”, Swiss Review of International and European Law, No. 4, 1995; “The Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes”, Netherlands International Review, Vol. XLIII, 1996/7; “50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law”, International Review of the Red Cross, 1998; “The Influence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Africa - Fifty Years After Its Adoption - A Legal Perspective”, Africa Legal Aid Quarterly, 1998; “International Justice in Relation to the International Court of Justice”, Thesaurus Acroasium, Vol. XXVI, Thessaloniki; “Implementation of the Law of the Sea Convention Through Its Institutions: An Overview”, in D. Vidas and W. Østreng (eds.) Order for the Oceans at the Turn of the Century; “The Humanitarian Consequences of Small Arms Proliferation”, Paper delivered under the auspices of the Henry Dunant Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue; “The Future of the Common Heritage of Mankind”, 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea, published by the Law of the Sea Institute, University of Hawaii, Honolulu; “Provisional Measures in Disputes between African States before the International Court of Justice”, in Laurence Boisson de Chazournes and Vera Gowlland-Debbas (eds.) The International Legal System in Quest of Equity and Universality, Liber Amicorum Georges Abi-Saab, 2001; “Social Justice and the Role of an International Judge”, Paper delivered at the Colloquium on Social Justice and International Law in Honour of Professor Georges Abi-Saab, 2001; Book review on Human Rights in Africa Series, in Professor Christof Heyns (ed.) Leiden Journal of International Law, 2001; “Africa’s Place in the International Justice System”, Paper delivered at the 643rd Wilton Park Conference: Justice in Africa, 2001; “Refugees: A Continuing Challenge”, Paper delivered at the 25th Round Table on Current Problems of International Humanitarian Law, International Institute of Humanitarian Law, San Remo, 2001; “The Protection of Civilian Populations in Non-International Armed Conflicts”, Paper delivered at the Third Meeting of Experts, International Institute of Humanitarian Law, Stockholm, 2001; “Rules of Court and Practice Directions”, Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, 2005.