Judge Julia Sebutinde

President, ICD Program on International Law & Human Rights

Judge, the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ)


Julia Sebutinde is a Ugandan jurist currently serving as a judge on the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and is the first African woman to sit on the World Court since 2012. Ms. Sebutinde is also the Chancellor of the International Health Sciences University, in Kampala, a position she has held since 2008.

Academic Career

Judge Sebutinde studied law at Makerere University, obtaining the degree of Bachelor of Laws (LLB) in 1977. She then received the Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Center in Kampala, in 1978. In 1991 Julia Sebutinde graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a degree of Master of Laws (LLM). In 2009, in recognition of her body of work and contribution to International justice, she was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) by the University of Edinburgh.

Political Career

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. In 1996, she was appointed Judge of the High Court of Uganda leading the commissions of inquiry of the government departments of Corruption in the Uganda Police, Corruption in the Uganda People’s Defence Force, and Corruption in the Uganda Revenue Authority. In 2005 Judge Sebutinde was appointed to the Special Court on Sierra Leone established by the United Nations, and went on serving as Presiding Judge in Courtroom II. Throughout her career, Judge Julia Sebutinde has held numerous other posts as Chancellor of the International Health Sciences University (2008-2011); Member of the Commonwealth Association of Legislative Drafters (1980-2011); Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund (1996-2011);  Member of National Association of Women Judges Uganda (1996-2011).


Julia Sebutinde is the author of various papers and lectures including: “International Criminal Justice: Balancing Competing Interests: The Challenges Facing Defence Counsel and Counsel for Victims and Witnesses,” Keynote Address at the Eighth ICC Seminar of Counsel, The Hague (May 2010); “Security Sector Reform: Transitional Justice Instruments: A Chance for Women,” Stadtschlaining, Austria (November 2010)

Awards and achievements

Judge Sebutinde is the recipient of several awards, including the “Good Samaritan Award” at the Congress of Advocates International (2004); a Special Award of the Uganda Law Society in recognition of her “courageous and exemplary contribution to the promotion of justice in Uganda” (2001). She was also named one of “Top 100 Africans of the Year” in the Africa Almanac 2000.