Joyce Aluoch is a former Judge and First Vice-President of the International Criminal Court at The Hague, The Netherlands. She is also a former judge of the High Court and Court of Appeal in Kenya.
Justice Aluoch was appointed the second woman Judge in Kenya.
In her long, outstanding legal career, she established a speciality for Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms, namely, Arbitration and Mediation. She is a Certified Mediator, International Mediation Institute (IMI), and Accredited Mediator (Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution London).
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In this article, WoK profiles one of the best legal minds the country has produced and a trailblazer for Kenyan women in the legal profession.
Background & Education
Justice Joyce Aluoch was born to Sam Aluko and Aino Alttoa in 1947. She attended Butere Girls High School for her O Levels and later Limuru Girls for her A Levels. She then proceeded to the University of Nairobi and graduated with a Bachelor of Law degree and later a Diploma from the Kenya School of Law.
She also holds a Master’s Degree in International Affairs (GMAP), from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University in Boston, which granted her the Distinguished Achievement Award in April 2015, and in September 2018, the same University awarded her its top Award, ”The Class of 1947 Award” (honoris causa). This made her the first black person to receive such an honour, only bestowed on one who has embodied the school’s mission and its founding ideals throughout their career.
Justice Aluoch was appointed as a District Magistrate by the Judiciary in 1974.
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Following the 1982 attempted coup, she convicted several political dissidents who had allegedly tried to topple late President Daniel Arap Moi’s government, among them, Onyango Oloo.
In 1993, Justice Joyce Aluoch was appointed as a judge of the High Court and was the senior most judge handling civil, criminal, commercial and family law cases until her appointment to the Court of Appeal in 2007.
She also established and served as the inaugural Head of the Family Division of the High Court and simplified litigation in Family Law matters.
Justice Aluoch became a judge at the ICC on March 11, 2009, for a term of nine years. She was assigned to the Trial Division and assumed full-time duty on May 25, 2009.
She chaired the African Union Committee of Experts on the Rights of the Child (2001-2005) and has undertaken special missions, such as negotiations on behalf of the African Union with the Government of Sudan and a fact-finding mission to war-torn northern Uganda to report on the effects of the war on children.
Judge Joyce Aluoch also served for six years as vice-chair and member of the UN Committee on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (2003-2008) and chaired a task force that worked toward the implementation of the Sexual Offences Act 2006, aimed at developing a national policy framework for handling sexual offences in Kenya.
She was a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, London, and the Kenya branch, the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA) Peace Palace, The Hague, Nairobi Centre for International Arbitration and the African Arbitration Association.
Joyce conducted mediations under the High Court Annexed Mediation Programme in Kenya as well as FIDA-Kenya, and private mediations. She is an Accredited Trainer for Foundation Mediation Skills of the Strathmore University Dispute Resolution Centre.
She recently served as a Board Member of Mediators Beyond Borders International, the Chair of the Advisory Board of the newly formed Africa-Asia Mediation Association, and Patron of Kisumu Mediation Centre.
Past situations and cases
The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo – Trial Chamber III (18 September 2009 – 20 July 2010)
The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo – Trial Chamber III (20 July 2010 – 6 July 2016)
The Prosecutor v. Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain – Trial Chamber IV (16 March 2011 – 16 March 2012) (Presiding)
The Prosecutor v. Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain – Trial Chamber IV (16 March 2012 – 17 March 2015) (Presiding)
The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga – Appeals Chamber (9 April 2014 – 25 June 2014)
The Prosecutor v. Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi – Pre-Trial Chamber I (16 March 2015 – 16 March 2018) (Presiding)
The Prosecutor v. Simone Gbagbo – Pre-Trial Chamber I (16 March 2015 – 16 March 2018) (Presiding)
The Prosecutor v. Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi – Pre-Trial Chamber I (16 March 2015 – 2 May 2016) (Presiding)
The Prosecutor v. Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi – Pre-Trial Chamber I (16 March 2015 – 20 March 2018) (Presiding)
The Prosecutor v. Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain – Trial Chamber IV (17 March 2015 – 20 March 2018) (Presiding)
The Prosecutor v. Sylvestre Mudacumura – Pre-Trial Chamber I (21 August 2015 – 16 March 2018) (Presiding)
The Prosecutor v. Sylvestre Mudacumura – Pre-Trial Chamber I (8 October 2015 – 20 March 2018) (Presiding)
The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo – Trial Chamber III (6 July 2016 – 2 August 2016) (Presiding)
The Prosecutor v. Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled – Pre-Trial Chamber I (24 April 2017 – 16 March 2018) (Presiding)
The Prosecutor v. Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf Al-Werfalli – Pre-Trial Chamber I (15 August 2017 – 16 March 2018) (Presiding)
Justice Joyce Aluoch is a recipient of several international and national awards. These include the Presidential honours of Elder of the Burning Spear (EBS), First Class Chief of the Order of the Burning Spear (CBS), and The Trail Blazer Award (2018), for services rendered to Kenya.