The Leitner Center for International Law and Justice has welcomed Justice Willy Mutunga as a distinguished scholar-in-residence. Justice Mutunga joins the Leitner Center from the Supreme Court of Kenya, where he served as chief justice and president from 2011 to 2016.
Currently the Common Wealth Secretary General’s special envoy for the Maldives, a position he will hold until June 2017, Justice Mutunga previously served as a lecturer in the University of Nairobi’s faculty of law. There, the justice was secretary-general of the University Staff Union from April 1979 until July 1980, when the union was banned and he was detained for 16 months for his activism and work with the Legal Advice Centre in Nairobi.
Justice Mutunga’s significant contributions to social justice initiatives in Kenya and extensive scholarship on human rights, law, and good governance have earned him several national and international honors including the Elder of the Golden Heart for his distinguished service to the nation and for his role in leading reforms in the judiciary under the new constitution (2010) and the Lifetime Achievement Award for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights from the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (2003).
Among his many works are The Rights of Arrested and Accused Persons (1990), Constitution Making from the Middle: Civil Society and Transition Politics in Kenya, 1992-1997 (1999), and Governance and Leadership: Debating the African Condition: Mazrui and His Critics Vol. 1 and 2 (2003) with Alamin M. Mazrui, along with numerous articles and essays on human rights, law, and society. In addition to his legal work, Justice Mutunga has engaged extensively with civil society and activist organizations including the Legal Advice Centre, the Law Society of Kenya, the Kenya Human Rights Commission, and the Citizens Coalition for Constitutional Change.
Justice Mutunga received his Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws degrees from the University of Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, and received a Doctorate Degree in Jurisprudence from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in Toronto.