ICJ judge James Richard Crawford dies aged 72


June 02, 2021


  • Crawford had been a judge at ICJ since February 2015 and was due to sit on the bench until February 2024.

File – Judge James Richard Crawford of the International Court of Justice, who died on May 31, 2021. Photo: International Court of Justice


By Aggrey Mutambo | The East African


James Richard Crawford, one of the judges who heard the case between Somalia and Kenya at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has died.

Crawford, born on November 14, 1948, had been a judge at the ICJ since February 2015 and was due to sit on the bench until February 2024.

A statement from the ICJ said the Australian jurist died on May 31.

Born in 1948 in Adelaide, Australia, Crawford earned his law degree from the University of Adelaide and a postgraduate degree from Oxford University before serving as a Barrister.

He later served as commissioner of the Australian Law Reform Commission and various other legal committees.

He also served as a member of the UN International Law Commission as well as a Special Rapporteur on State Responsibility.

Before his election as a judge, he was also a counsel before the ICJ.

The ICJ, UN’s permanent court, decides on cases between States and gives advisory opinions on matters involving States and non-State actors.

Crawford was among the 15 members of the bench who heard the Somalia suit against Kenya, in which Mogadishu is demanding a redraw of the sea border in an area of about 100,000 square kilometres of sea.

His death is not expected to hurt the process as the judges had already retreated yo write their judgements. A verdict is usually reached based on the majority decision.

Kenya refused to take part in the final oral hearings in March, accusing the court of bias.

A decision is expected anytime between now and next year.

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