WMU Mourns the Passing of Former ITLOS Judge and Former IMO Legal Adviser Thomas Mensah

President Doumbia-Henry expresses condolences on behalf of WMU:

It is with deep sadness that the World Maritime University (WMU) learned of the passing away of Dr. Thomas Mensah, former Assistant Secretary General and Director of the Legal Affairs and External Relations Division of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and Inaugural President of the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). 

Dr Thomas A. Mensah

Judge Mensah was a legal luminary of outstanding calibre and WMU benefitted substantially from his knowledge, work and affable personality. In his capacity as the Director of the Legal Affairs and External Relations Division of the IMO, he was entrusted the responsibility of drafting the provisions of the Charter of WMU which he did with alacrity and dispatch enabling the Charter to be promulgated and take effect on 15 June 1983. Dr Mensah ensured that the first Charter included a provision that ensured that WMU was operating within the administrative framework of the IMO and that the University would enjoy the status, privileges and immunities provided for in the UN Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the Specialized Agencies of 21 November 1947, including Annex XII of that Convention which relates to the status, privileges and immunities of the IMO. His early work has formed the foundation for the further development of the Charter over the years, which has underpinned the continuing growth of the University.

Following this important and seminal work, Dr Mensah also graced the academic halls of the University as a Visiting Professor over many years. Uniquely, his lectures brought to students the auspicious experience of Judge and Inaugural President of the International Tribunal of the Sea. WMU attracts world class professionals of extremely high calibre to interact with students, yet even in such circles, Thomas Mensah was truly outstanding.

Despite the many elevated offices he held and the well-deserved accolades and prizes he won globally, Judge Thomas Mensah remained an affable, personable and approachable individual, yet always maintaining a distinct air of dignity. He was always open to dialogue and critical thinking, characteristics that benefitted the academic community in WMU significantly and are reflected in his numerous academic publications.

I personally had the good fortune of knowing Dr. Mensah very well going back to the days when IMO had its headquarters in Piccadilly in London and when I was undertaking research for my doctoral thesis. I remember fondly my encounters with him.

Judge Thomas Mensah, even in eternal repose, will remain a true inspiration to all of us at WMU, in particular to those engaged in academic pursuits associated with the law of the sea.

On behalf of WMU Faculty, Staff and Students , I wish to extend to his family our sincere and heart-felt condolences on his passing. We together with you, mourn the passing of a global giant, who not only blessed his own country, Ghana, but also the global community at large.

Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry
World Maritime University


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