Cameroonian diplomat and academic, Maurice Kengne Kamga, was elected judge at the Hamburg International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, on August 24, 2020, in New York. His candidacy, endorsed by the African Union, received the votes of two-thirds of the 168 member countries of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The 53-year-old native of Bandjoun in West Cameroon will be sworn in on October 1. Thus, he will become a kind of Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations for a renewable nine-year term.
This election marks the culmination of an outstanding academic and professional career. Indeed, after a doctorate in international relations from the Institute of International Relations of Cameroon (Iric), he joined the Ministry of External Relations (Minrex) in 1994. Later, he traveled to “ Switzerland after being designated as the ninth recipient of the Hamilton S. Amerasinghe Fellowship, which the United Nations offers every year to particularly promising candidates for specialization in the law of the sea.”
Thanks to that scholarship, he obtained another doctorate in international law of the sea. While working as a technical adviser at the Minrex and an associate professor at Iric, Maurice Kengne Kamga was recruited as Legal Secretary for the International Court of Justice in The Hague. He will hold that position until September 30, 2020.
Created in 1982 by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (an independent judicial body operational since 1994) has jurisdiction over disputes relating to the interpretation or application of the Convention on the law of the Sea.