Judge Thomas Mensah was appointed the first President of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in 1996, and continues to serve as an ad hoc Judge of the Court. He was awarded the prestigious international maritime prize for 2012 for his significant contribution to the work and objectives of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) which he joined 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. On leaving IMO, Dr Mensah became Special Advisor on Environmental Law and Institutions, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, from 1991 to 1992. 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.