WCL Graduate Appointed to the Supreme Court of Uganda
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, DC, August 18, 2009 – American University Washington College of Law (WCL) S.J.D. graduate Dr. Esther Kisaakye ’09, has been nominated to the seven member Ugandan Supreme Court by Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda.
Over the course of her career, Kisaakye has worked to address human rights, women’s rights, family law, health law, and HIV/AIDS and the law. She became the first African woman to graduate from the WCL S.J.D. Program in August, and her dissertation focused on the role of women judges and lawyers in Uganda’s legal system.
Kisaakye’s nomination is now subject to Ugandan parliamentary approval, after a brief hearing process. Her nomination makes her one of a select group of female justices not only in Africa, but around the world.
“We are proud of Esther’s recent honor, and are happy to add her to the list of WCL graduates who have reached the highest levels of achievement in their legal careers,” said WCL Dean Claudio Grossman. “Her nomination as one of the first female Supreme Court justices in Africa is a reflection of the pioneering spirit of WCL’s founders.”
“I thank WCL for giving me the opportunity to pursue my S.J.D. and further my legal education,” said Kisaakye. “I feel greatly honored to have been nominated as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Uganda, andI look forward to serving my country in my new role to enhance justice and human rights for all."
After beginning her legal career in the financial sector, Kisaakye changed focus and earned an internship at the National Women’s Law Center in Washington, D.C., where she represented women prisoners. Kisaakye then returned to Uganda to serve as national coordinator for the Human Rights Network of Uganda, and a faculty member of the Human Rights Peace Center at Makeere University, where she lectured for 10 years.
Esther was admitted to the Ugandan Bar in 1985 and has been practicing law before the Ugandan courts for the last 24 years. In 1995, she formed the law firm of Kisaakye & Co. Advocates, where she has continued to practice law to date. From 1996-99 she served as legal advisor to the Vice President of Uganda, helping to create the country’s government anti-corruption plan. In 2005 she became executive director of the Uganda Network on Law, Ethics, HIV/AIDS, leading the expansion of the organization to provide legal aid to those suffering from the disease. She has served as a board member of the Uganda Aids Commission, FIDA-Uganda, and the Uganda Law Society. She earned her LL.M from Georgetown University Law Center.
The Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) Program selects outstanding students prepared to write a doctoral-level dissertation in law, who will make original contributions to the legal literature, and who have a strong intellectual commitment to advanced legal study.
Washington College of Law Founders’ Vision
American University Washington College of Law is an institution with a unique history. It was founded more than 100 years ago by two pioneering women—Ellen Spencer Mussey and Emma Gillett—at a time when women were generally excluded from the legal profession. The founders fostered a tradition of providing opportunities for women and their extraordinary foresight and perseverance formed the foundation of Washington College of Law.# # #