Former CCJ judge Jacob Wit. – Photo courtesy the CCJ
Five days after announcing the retirement of Justice Jacob Wit on the basis of ill health, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) announced on Tuesday that Wit had died.
The court, in a release, said Wit was a member of the inaugural CCJ bench in 2005 and diligently served until his retirement last December.
A native of the Netherlands, Wit, said the CCJ, was an eminent jurist with wide legal expertise in private law, commercial and admiralty law, insurance, bankruptcy and insolvency, company law and intellectual property, criminal law, military law, administrative law, constitutional law, and international human rights law.
Before joining the CCJ, he adjudicated over cases in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles, and the Dutch Windward Islands of Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius and Saba.
Wit was fluent in several languages, served as a ranking member of the CCJ’s Academy for Law and was part-time president of the Constitutional Court of Sint Maarten.
In 2020, he received the Nederlandse Juristen Vereniging Award for long and effective contributions to forging and maintaining public trust in the judiciary in a turbulent environment.
CCJ president Justice Adrian Saunders said, “It is a sad day for the court. Justice Wit and I worked together since 2005 when we formed part of the inaugural Bench of the court. He was the lone civil law judge on the current CCJ Bench with rich experience in military law, administrative law, constitutional law, and international human rights law.
“His involvement with the CCJ Academy for Law and his role in co-ordinating the academy’s most recent biennial conference and regional town hall focusing on crime, paired with his passion for regional criminal justice reform are recognised and deeply appreciated. I will certainly miss him and his contributions to the Court and to the region.”
The court will hold a special sitting and open a condolence book to recognise Wit’s contribution.