The United Kingdom has nominated Dapo Akande, a Nigerian-born professor of international law who had his formative legal qualification in Nigeria, as its candidate for the International Law Commission at the United Nations.
Currently, an international law professor at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford, Mr Akande was handed UK’s slot ahead of a UN election billed for November.
UK’s secretary of state for foreign, commonwealth and development affairs, Dominic Raab, said Mr Akande was picked because of his three decades of legal experience, making him “one of the finest legal scholars in the UK.”
“The UK has always been a strong supporter of the International Law Commission and is proud of the contribution that British international lawyers have made to its work. I believe that Professor Akande is perfectly positioned to strengthen this contribution yet further,” Mr Raab wrote in his statement on Monday.
Mr Akande is poised to slug it out with nine other Western Europe nominees, eight of whom would hold the seats for the region, as nomination by member states is slated to end in June.
The deciding election will hold at the seventy-sixth session of the UN General Assembly in November where 34 new members of the commission will be elected for a five-year term which starts in 2023.
Aside the eight nationals from Western Europe, eight of the 34 will be from African states; seven from Asia-Pacific countries; three nationals from Eastern Europe; six from Latin American and Caribbean states.
Editorial advisor to dozens of international law periodicals in Europe, America, Africa and Asia, Mr Akande is vast in public international law, and has experience both as an academic and independent practitioner, including representing governments and individual claimants in courts.
An author to, and researcher of, over 60 publications on international law, Mr Raab’s statement said, Mr Akande has acted as a consultant to international organisations, including the United Nations, the African Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the International Criminal Court, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, and the Commonwealth secretariat.
His experience also spans being a counsel and adviser on international litigation before the International Court of Justice, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the World Trade Organisation, the International Criminal Court and the European Court of Human Rights.
Before he could nick the much-coveted seat, Mr Akande has to compete with Israeli Becker Tal; Spanish Escobar Hernández Concepción; Norwegian Fife Rolf Einar, who is Norway and Finland’s candidate; French Forteau Mathias and Portuguese Galvão Teles Patrícia.
Others are Italian Nesi Giuseppe; Turkish Oral Nilüfer; Austrian Reinisch August; and New Zealander Ridings Penelope, nominee for both his home country and Australia.
The International Law Commission was established in 1947 to “initiate studies and make recommendations for the purpose of …encouraging the progressive development of international law and its codification” for the United Nations.