Sudan

A comprehensive overview of Sudan's legal framework in light of the Darfur crisis

Attachments

OCCASIONAL PAPER 3

Maude Fournier, L.L. B.

Introduction

Sudan is the largest country in Africa and it is characterized by numerous ethnic groups, speaking different dialects, having different faiths, and originating from different socio-economic backgrounds. The disparity in the Sudanese population has been the root cause of many conflicts since the country gained its independence

from Great Britain in 1956.1 These conflicts have opposed many groups such as Muslim-Christian, Arab-African, nomad-sedentary, etc., as they have laid the ground to Sudan's development in all its forms, whether economic, social or legal.2

The rule of law has not escaped from the consequences of continuous conflicts. While laws are present, they prove to be incoherent at times, and their implementation remains a challenge. In substance, the Sudanese legal system is a melting pot of remedial British legacy, Arab-dominated government, tribal-specific traditions,

military-dependent power, and complex regional and international influence. Still today, Sudanese legislation remains unstable as decrees are issued on a regular basis, overruling laws. Furthermore, legal texts are scarce and extremely difficult to find.3 Consequently, establishing Sudan's legal framework constitutes, in many ways, a challenge that this report modestly attempts to overcome. In light of the ongoing United Nations - African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) operating in the Darfur region of Sudan, and of the alarming situation regarding gender-based violence, this report will focus on relevant legal texts and judicial institutions, at both international and national levels.