Thursday, May 6, 2021

A Motswana woman judge appointed to new UN Dispute Tribunal

The General Assembly of the United Nations has appointed a Botswana Judge to the United Nations Dispute Tribunal.

Last week, the General Assembly appointed 3 permanent Judges, one each for New York, Geneva and Nairobi, to the new United Nations Dispute Tribunal, to help bolster the UN’s system of dealing with disciplinary cases and internal grievances of all employees of the UN.

Local High Court Judge, Mrs Memooda Ebrahim-Carstens, was appointed to the New York post after she secured a resounding 122 votes to her opponents 61; and after having been short listed from 237 applicants from 55 countries, following an exacting 2 hour written examination, and an interview before the UN’s Internal Justice Council.

Judge Ebrahim-Carstens was recently appointed to the High Court of Botswana, having previously served “with distinction” for 10 years as a full time Judge of the Industrial Court of Botswana; (as Acting Judge in 1997/98, and thereafter as a permanent Judge from 1999-2009). She was the first female and citizen of Botswana to be appointed to the Industrial Court of Botswana; a specialised labour court set up in 1994.

Judge Ebrahim-Carstens was born in Francistown in 1954 and lived her earlier days in Mulambakwena, Tshessebe, and Ramokwebana. She attended Crescent Primary School in Lobatse and Mater Spei College in Francistown where she obtained her O Levels with distinction. Judge Carstens received her law degree (BA Hons. Business Law), from the then City of London Polytechnic Business Law School, and went on to obtain her Barristers Degree in 1983 from Lincoln’s Inn, also in London. She worked briefly in London and returned to Botswana in 1985, to eventually run her own legal practice, mainly in civil and commercial from 1987-1998.

Being a judge of the Industrial Court of Botswana, a specialised Superior Court of Law and Equity, Judge Ebrahim-Carstens has therefore had considerable experience in the fields of labour law, administrative law, adjudication, and mediation. She has dealt with both individual and collective disputes and, amongst others, termination, dismissal and retrenchment cases, cases on the rights of minority unions, sovereign immunity, and gender and ethnic/tribal discrimination. Having been involved with the Court almost from its inception, she has added a wealth of jurisprudence to the area of employment law in particular. Her judgments have been reported in the Botswana Law Reports, ILO publications, and the African Human Rights Law Reports.

Justice Ebrahim-Carstens has held several positions and appointments in both her social and public life including: Membership Secretary of the Mansfield Law Club ( London); Executive and founding Member of both the Francistown Consumer Action Group and Area A Neighbourhood Watch; Executive Member of the Francistown Golf Club; Executive Officer of the Pupillage and Legal Education Committee of the Law Society of Botswana; Former Board Member of Botswana Water Utilities Corporation; Trustee of the Supa Ngwao Museum Francistown; Trustee of Y Care Charitable Trust; and a Member of the Botswana Law Reporting Committee.

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