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November 13, 2018

Kenya submits AG Muigai as candidate for UN sea law organ

A file photo of Attorney General Githu Muigai.
A file photo of Attorney General Githu Muigai.

Kenya has formally presented AG Githu Muigai and Simon Njuguna as candidates for positions at a UN law organisation.

Professor Muigai is vying for the position of member and judge of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).

Njuguna, a geologist of international repute, is seeking re-election as a member of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS).

Both bodies are under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Twenty one membership positions are up for election, five of which have been set aside for Africa.

Algeria and Cape Verde are seeking re-election to the ITLOS tribunal while Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa are seeking to be members and judges of the tribunal.

Members of the tribunal are elected for nine years and may be re-elected.

Muigai and Njunguna's candidature was submitted on Thursday by Ambassador Macharia Kamau, Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

This was during the 27th Annual Session of the United Nations Oceans Conference taking place in New York, United States of America. 

In his submission, Kamau reiterated Kenya’s longstanding commitment to fair governance and use of oceans and their resources.

He also noted Kenya’s leadership in shaping the vital contours of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, as charted by the late Professor Frank Njenga. Njenga is known for being the father of the maritime concept of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

"Over the years, Kenya has continued to contribute immensely to the implementation of commitments under UNCLOS, through active participation in meetings of states parties and at the level of the International Seabed Authority," he said

Kenya is currently a co-chair of the Informal Working Group of the working terms and conditions of service of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

Muigai has 35 years's experience as a lawyer and has previously served as Judge of the African Court of Human and Peoples Rights and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.

Njuguna, who has 20 years' experience, served as a member of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) from 2012 to 2017. 

UNCLOS establishes a comprehensive legal framework governing all ocean space and use of marine resources. Some 164 states, including Kenya, are currently party to the convention.

ITLOS is an independent judicial body created by the convention. It sits in Hamburg, Germany and has 21 judges elected by secret ballot by States Parties to the Convention. 

The current tribunal at ITLOS is composed of five judges from the African group, five from the Asia-Pacific Group and three from the Eastern European Group. Four judges are from the Latin American and Caribbean Group and three from the Western European and Other Groups.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary  Amina Mohamed has expressed Kenya’s willingness and preparedness to host the United Nations Oceans Conference in 2020.

Amina issued the statement at ongoing 27th Annual UN Oceans Conference in New York.

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