The Government of Kenya has nominated Professor Phoebe Okowa, currently Professor of Public International Law and Director of Graduate Studies at Queen Mary's School of Law to the International Law Commission, the United Nations (UN) body of experts bearing the responsibility of initiating studies and making recommendations for progressive development of international law and its codification.
Announcing the nomination, Kenya's Ambassador to the United Nations Amb. Martin Kimani congratulated Prof. Okowa noting her strong credentials as a Candidate. He promised the support of the Kenyan Mission to the UN to walk with her candidacy as part of Kenya's effort to "ramp up its efforts to increase the number and seniority of Kenyan professionals serving in international organizations."
Prof. Phoebe Okowa becomes one of seven women out of the 42 nominees received so far for the current ILC elections. If elected, she will become the first woman from Africa and one of the handful of women to become members of International Law Commission since establishment of International Law Commission in 1947.
"I am delighted, honoured and humbled in equal measure to be Kenya's nominee to the UN International Law Commission 2021. If I am elected, I will be the first woman from Africa to become a member of the International Law Commission," said Prof. Phoebe Okowa.
She added "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."
Phoebe Okowa graduated at the top of her class with a Bachelor of Law (LLB), First Class Honours from the University of Nairobi, Kenya. She proceeded to the University of Oxford for Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) degree and he completed her doctoral thesis (D.Phil) at Oxford under the supervision of the Chichele Professor of International Law (Ian Brownlie QC) on State Responsibility for Transboundary Air Pollution, now a publication of the Oxford University Press.
She has taught Public International law, Constitutional Law and Private International Law at the University of Bristol as a member of faculty, held visiting appointments at the Universities of Lille, Helsinki, Stockholm and WZB Berlin Social Science Center for Global Constitutionalism and has lectured for the United Nations at its Regional Course on International Law for Africa.
In 2011 and 2015 she was Hauser Global Visiting Professor of Law at New York University, School of Law. She is on the International Advisory Board of the Stockholm Centre for International Law, the Executive Committee of the International Society of Public Law (ICON-S).
Prof. Phoebe Okowa is also an advocate of the High Court of Kenya and has acted as counsel and consultant to many governments and non-governmental organizations on questions of international law before domestic and international courts including the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Prof. Phoebe Okowa was one of the candidates shortlisted for the Deputy Chief Justice of Kenya. Most recently, she was the only Kenyan appointed to represent the country at the ICJ in the Maritime Delimitation in the India Ocean between Somalia and Kenya. In 2017, she was nominated by the Government of Kenya to the Permanent Court of Arbitration where she currently a Permanent Member.