The Honourable Mr. Justice Philip Nyamu Waki


Justice Waki qualified from the University of Nairobi with a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) Degree in 1974, before admission to the Roll of Advocates in Kenya in 1975 after professional training at the Kenya School of Law. For twenty years thereafter, he was in private practice in all Kenyan Courts until he joined public service upon appointment by the President of Kenya, on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission, as a Judge of the High Court in October 1995. After eight years, in June 2003, he was promoted to the Court of Appeal which was the highest court in Kenya until the Supreme Court was created under the Kenya Constitution, 2010. He is currently serving as the Presiding Judge of the Court of Appeal in Nyeri.

In January, 2012, through a competitive process, he was appointed by the United Nations Secretary General and the President of Sierra Leone, to serve at the level of Undersecretary General of the United Nations as an Alternate Judge of the Appeals Chamber in the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone, sitting in The Hague, Netherlands. After closure of the court in December 2013, he was appointed by the UN Secretary General to serve as a Judge of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone and was elected by the plenary of Judges of that court as President of the court.

In his 20-years of public service in the Kenya judiciary, Justice Waki was deeply involved in the reform agenda of that institution of governance. He chaired, or was a member of, various committees which were instrumental in laying firm foundations for the transformation of the Judiciary, including; the Rules Committee, the Expeditious Disposal of Cases Committee, the Technical Co-ordination Committee of Governance, Justice, law and Order Sector (GJLOS) Program, the Judiciary Information and Communication Technology(ICT) Committee and the Judiciary Transformation Committee. He is a past Council member of the Kenya Judges and Magistrates Association, Vice President of the East African Judges and Magistrates Association, and a current member of the Commonwealth Judges and Magistrates Association in his own right. He is also a long standing member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Kenya) since 1993.

Justice Waki was among the first Judges in the Kenyan Judiciary to be trained in Environmental and Human Rights Law, and in enhancing the role of the Judiciary in promoting their enforcement and compliance. He was also trained as a Trainer in the Jurisprudence of Equality (JEP), a program of the International Women Judges Association (IWJA) towards gender mainstreaming. He has since trained other Judicial officers and has attended and delivered papers in numerous conferences in Kenya, East Africa, and other parts of the world.

In 2012 he was appointed by the Director of UNEP as one of nine members worldwide, to serve in the International Advisory Council on Environmental Justice (IACEJ), which provides strategic guidance to the international community in improving the legal foundations for achieving international environmental goals, and overcoming legal barriers to inclusive sustainable development.  

 Outside the Judiciary, Justice Waki was, in May 2008, appointed by the National Dialogue and Reconciliation Team and the President of Kenya, to chair an international Commission of Inquiry into Kenya’s post election violence, often referred to as the WAKI COMMISSION, and in October 2008, submitted a comprehensive report to President Kibaki and Dr. Kofi Annan, the head of the Panel of Eminent African Personalities who mediated the conflict. The report, which was adopted by Parliament, was a key foundation of Kenya’s reform process leading to a new Constitutional dispensation.

He was married for 34 years to one wife who passed on through breast cancer in April 2013, and has three sons, one daughter, two daughters–in-law and two grandsons. He has also brought up three orphans past university levels to gainful employment. He is now 66 years of age.

As a member of the larger community, he has played crucial roles in educating disadvantaged children, served as chairman of Boards of Governors and school committees, and participated in local development projects. He likes Golf and travelling.

DATED at Nairobi this 30th day of October, 2015.