Transforming Judiciaries in the Global South

Date & Time Oct 17 2016 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
The Honorable Willy Mutunga, Former Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kenya
Audience Open to the Public

Transforming Judiciaries in the Global South will be addressed at a public talk to be held on Monday, Oct. 17, 2016, at Robertson Hall, Bowl 016, on the Princeton University campus. The talk is free and open to the public.

The discussion, “Transforming Judiciaries in the Global South,” will be presented by the Honorable Willy Mutunga, Commonwealth Secretary-General's special envoy for the Maldives (July 2016-June 2017) and former chief justice and president of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kenya. Mutunga is visiting the School as its 2016 Joseph S. Nye Jr. '58 International Affairs Lecturer.

Dr. Mutunga has been an active player in Kenya’s opposition politics since the 1970s during the country’s dictatorship era. Starting his career as a law lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Mutunga joined the newly formed human rights activist group, University Staff Union. Here, he stood up against the dictatorship of President Daniel arap Moi, which led to his dismissal from the university and detainment without trial for 16 months in 1982.

Mutunga has established and served in many civil society organizations, among them the Law Society of Kenya, where he served as vice-chairman from 1991 to 1993 and chairman from 1993 to 1995; the Kenya Human Rights Commission; the East African Centre for Constitutional Development (Kituo Cha Katiba), Uganda; and the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Rights and Democracy) in Montreal, Canada.

For his outstanding contributions to the development of law, human rights, good governance and social justice, Dr. Mutunga has received several national and international honors and awards.

Dr. Mutunga has published two books: “The Rights of Arrested and Accused Persons” (Nairobi: Oxford University Press, 1990) and “Constitution-Making from the Middle: Civil Society and Transition Politics in Kenya, 1992-1997 (Nairobi and Harrare: Sareat/MWENGO, 1999). 

He has also published many essays and papers on human rights, law and society and co-edited and co-authored several books: “Governance and Leadership: Debating the African Condition: Mazrui and His Critics,” Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, (Africa World Press, 2003) with Alamin M. Mazrui; “Black Orientalism and Pan-African Thought: Debating the African Condition: Ali Mazrui and His Critics, Vol. 3,” (Africa World Press, 2013) with Seifudein Adem and Alamin Mazrui; “Human Rights as Politics,” (Nairobi: Kenya Human Rights Commission, 2003); and “Exposing the Soft Belly of the Multinational Beast: The Struggle for Workers Rights at Del Monte,” (Nairobi: Kenya Human Rights Commission, 2001) with Francesco Gesualdi and Steve Ouma. 

Between 2004 and 2011, Dr. Mutunga wrote a column in the Saturday and Sunday Nation newspaper under the pen name of Cabral Pinto. A compilation of these writings is currently being edited by Charles Onyango-Obbo. Dr. Mutunga is currently working on his biography, “Inspiring Encounters,with Natasha Elkington. Since 2011, he has written scholarly articles, dissenting and concurring judgments, and delivered speeches that are his vision of laying fundamental foundations for transforming the Kenyan judiciary and its progressive jurisprudence. The articles, judgments and speeches are being edited for publication by Professor Sylvia Kang’ara of Riara Law School.