Ambassador & Permanent Representative

Dr. Michael Imran Kanu is Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the United Nations (UN) in New York, and also to the International Seabed Authority (ISA) in Kingston, Jamaica. He is Vice-President of the ICC Assembly of States Parties (23rd to 25th sessions) and Co-Chair of the Review Mechanism of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Rome Statute system. He is also a Member of the Legal and Technical Commission of the ISA (2023-2027).

From September 2018 to August 2023, Dr. Kanu was Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative for Legal Affairs at the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN in New York. In that role, Dr. Kanu served in several leadership capacities including as President of UNCLOS 29th Meeting of the States Parties, 17-19 June 2019 (SPLOS 29); Coordinator (Lead Negotiator) of the Legal Experts of the African Group on BBNJ and Lead on the MGRs part; Agent of the Government of Sierra Leone in the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) Case No. 31, Request for an Advisory Opinion submitted by the Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law; and Coordinator of the Informal Working Group of the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly on the Outstanding Issues on the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

2017 – 2018, legal practitioner in Sierra Leone and served as Managing Partner, Kanu & Associates (formerly Cole, Kanu & Partners), a commercial and public interest law firm in Sierra Leone.

2011 – 2015, Prosecutor of the Anti-Corruption Commission of the Republic of Sierra Leone, and also Secretary (part time) of the General Legal Council, Republic of Sierra Leone.

2008; 2010 – 2011, Partner (previously Associate), M. S. Turay & Associates, Spancho Chambers, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

2009 – 2010, Legal Officer, Procredit Bank (SL) Limited, Freetown, Sierra Leone; and Visiting Associate, White & Case LLP, London, England (secondment September – December 2009).

He holds a Doctoral of Juridical Science in International Business Law (SJD), Central European University (2015 – 2018); Master of Laws in International Business Law (LL.M), Central European University (2014 – 2015); Degree of Utter Barrister (B.L), Sierra Leone Law School (2007– 2008); and Bachelor of Laws with Honours (LL.B), Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone (2003 – 2007). He completed the United Nations International Law Fellowship in 2019.

Dr. Kanu is a Visiting Senior Fellow in Practice, the Law School of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Dr. Kanu is married to Mrs. Rita Sia Abibatu Kanu and their marriage is blessed with two boys, Mansa Dilei Kanu and Masala Dakari Kanu.

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