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School of Law

Queen Mary Professor nominated to UN International Law Commission

Professor Phoebe Okowa has been nominated to the United Nations' International Law Commission by the Government of Kenya.

Phoebe Okowa, Professor of Public International Law

The International Law Commission is the United Nations expert body, established by the UN General Assembly, in 1947.

The International Law Commission has 34 members who are elected in accordance with geographical representation.

According to the Charter of the United Nations, the International Law Commission has responsibility for initiating studies and making recommendations with the purpose of encouraging the progressive development of international law and its codification.

Improving women’s representation

Of the 42 nominees received so far for the current elections, only seven are women and since its establishment in 1947, only seven of its members have been women.

Professor Phoebe Okowa, Professor of Public International Law and Director of Graduate Studies at Queen Mary’s School of Law said: “I am delighted, honoured and humbled in equal measure to be Kenya’s nominee to the UN International Law Commission 2021.

“In the 72 years since it was established the Commission has had only seven women members out of a total membership of 229.  The first women were elected to the Commission in 2001 and since then only five more have been elected. If I am elected, I will be the first woman from Africa to become a member of the International Law Commission.”

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