PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — Sixty-seven-year-old Sir Dennis Byron is the new president of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
Sir Dennis, who was Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal, replaces Michael de la Bastide, who is due to retire on August 18.
His appointment was made three weeks ago at the heads of government meeting in Grenada, but the announcement was made on Tuesday in a press release issued by the Public Education and Communications Unit of the CCJ.
Sir Dennis’s present assignment is as president of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The actual date of his assumption of office at the CCJ will be announced in due course.
He is a native of St Kitts and Nevis and boasts a judicial career with a solid foundation. He won the Leeward Islands Scholarship in 1960 and went to read law at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, from where he graduated with an MA and LLB. After 16 years of private practice in the Eastern Caribbean, he went on to serve as High Court judge, Justice of Appeal and then Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.
Byron was the trial judge in the famous Maurice Bishop murder trial in Grenada – the longest criminal trial in the Caribbean.
While Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean, Sir Dennis led the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Judicial Law Reform Programme, which included the establishment of a Code of Ethics for Judges, the implementation of new Civil Procedure Rules and the establishment of a Judicial Eastern Institute, among other achievements. His special interest in judicial education activities led to his appointment as president of the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute (CJEI), a position which he has held since the year 2000.
In 2000 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and was appointed a member of Her Majesty’s Privy Council in 2004.
Sir Dennis has written many articles and publications and holds the first Yogis and Keddy Chair in Human Rights Law at Dalhousis University, Nova Scotia, Canada.
The Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission and the Caribbean Court of Justice have jointly congratulated Sir Dennis on his appointment as president of the CCJ and pledged their support in making his a productive and successful term of office.