The IMO Council has unanimously agreed to award the prestigious International Maritime Prize for 2012 to Dr. Thomas A. Mensah of Ghana, former President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Legal Affairs and External Relations Division at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), for his significant contribution to the work and objectives of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
In nominating his candidature, the Government of Ghana drew attention to Dr. Mensah’s distinguished career in international maritime affairs, as a specialist in public international law, the law of treaties, shipping law, the international law of the sea and international environmental law.
The nomination highlighted Dr. Mensah’s long career at IMO (initially in the Organization’s Legal Office and then as Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Legal Affairs and External Relations Division) followed by his appointment as a Judge at the newly-established International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) , from 1996 to 2005. He was also elected as the first President of the Tribunal, from 1996 to 1999.
International Maritime Prize
The International Maritime Prize is awarded annually by IMO to the individual or organization judged to have made the most significant contribution to the work and objectives of the Organization. It consists of a sculpture in the form of a dolphin and includes a financial award, upon submission of a paper written on a subject relevant to IMO.
The prize will be presented to Dr. Mensah at a special ceremony, on a date to be arranged.
Biography of Dr. Thomas A. Mensah
Dr Thomas A. Mensah was born and raised in Ghana. He graduated from the University of Ghana and then studied abroad, first taking law at the University of London, graduating in 1959, and then, in 1961, he joined Yale University Law School, United States, obtaining a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree in 1962 and a Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.) title in 1964.
Dr. Mensah then embarked on a truly international legal career, first working as Associate Legal Officer, at the International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna from 1965 to 1966 before joining the IMO Secretariat, in London, in 1968, as Director of the Legal Office. In 1981, he was designated Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Legal Affairs and External Relations Division, IMO, posts which he held until 1990. He was also a visiting Professor of the World Maritime University (WMU), in Malmö, Sweden, from 1981 to1990.
On leaving IMO, Dr. Mensah became Special Advisor on Environmental Law and Institutions, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, from 1991 to 1992. He then became Cleveringa Professor of Law, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands, from 1993 to 1994. Dr. Mensah then moved to the United States where he was Professor and Director, Law of the Sea Institute, University of Hawaii, from 1993 to 1995.
Dr. Mensah was then appointed as the first High Commissioner of Ghana to the Republic of South Africa, from 1995 to 1996.
In 1996 he was appointed the first President of ITLOS, and continued to serve as an ITLOS Judge from 1999 to 2005.
He has been a Member of the Institut de Droit International since 1989, a Titular Member of the Comité Maritime International, a Member of the Advisory Council of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law and a Member of the Standing Committee on Maritime Arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris.
Dr. Mensah has published numerous articles, monographs and papers in the field of public international law, law of the sea, maritime law and international environmental law.