José Luis Jesus of Cape Verde has been elected as the new President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, replacing previous President, Rüdiger Wolfrum of Germany. President Jesus will serve a three-year term until 2011. President Jesus is no stranger to the Tribunal as he has served on the judicial organ since 1999. He is the second African President of the Tribunal following Thomas Mensah who served as the first President of the Tribunal from 1996 to 1999. Like his predecessors, President Jesus has had an eminent career as an international lawyer. Notably, he was Head of the Cape Verde delegation to the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea from 1979 to 1982; Chair of the Group of 77 for the Law of the Sea in 1986; and Chairman of Preparatory Commission for the International Seabed Authority and for the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea from 1987–1995.
In recent days, two new judges have also been sworn in as members of the Tribunal following their election at the eighteenth Meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in June. Judge Boualem Bouguetaia (Algeria) and Judge Vladimir Vladimirovich Golitsyn (Russian Federation) will serve an initial term of nine years in accordance with Article 5 of Annex VI of the Law of the Sea Convention.
With its new President and new intake of judges, ITLOS appears ready for action. The only thing it is lacking is any cases to adjudicate!! In the last four years (since October 2004) the Tribunal has only decided three law of the sea disputes.