The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has feted Justice Odunga as the jurist of the year, owing to his exemplary work at the Judiciary.
According to the ICJ Odunga, who is famed for his radical rulings,” has braved criticism, avoided distractions and remained steadfast in the discharge of his duties”.
“Indeed, you have affirmed and re-affirmed to the country that no man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man’s permission to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not as a favour,” a statement from the Jurists said.
The Jurist of the Year Award is an annual award that seeks to give recognition, acknowledgment and encouragement to jurists who have consistently, fearlessly and impartially promoted the rule of law and human rights in Kenya during the year and is awarded as an advocacy tool to motivate jurists who engage in human rights work, the Jurist of the Year Award has no equal in the country.
“The recipients of the award are selected using criteria set out in the Society By-laws, to ensure objectivity and transparency,” ICJ observes.
The award has been given out on the 10th December each year since 1993 to commemorate and honor the United Nations International Human Rights Day.
One the rulings by Justice Odunga’s that was cited during his fete as Jurist of the year is the case against controversial lawyer and activist Miguna Miguna against Interior CS Fred Matiangi and 8 others where the judge found the government to be in contempt of court.
In his ruling, the Judge held that there is nothing barring the Court in appropriate cases from holding an officer of the Government individually liable where the conduct of that officer give rise to circumstances under which it would be unjust and oppressive to subject the public to either pay the money decreed or the costs arising therefrom or both.
Odunga was also applauded for his ruling on the case involving the award of a tender to Dubai-based Al-Ghurair firm for the printing of the presidential ballot papers.
Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court Justice David Kenani Maraga was 2017 Jurist of the Year while the late human rights lawyer, Willie Kimani, who was murdered in the line of duty won the award in 2016.