Support to an Inclusive Constitutional Reform in the Republic of the Sudan through Technical Legal Capacity Building in the Area of Comparative Constitutional Law

With its projects in Sudan, the Max Planck Foundation continues the activities of the Global Knowledge Transfer Working Group of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (MPIL), which were initiated in the country back in 2002 under the auspices of the Foundation's Managing Director and Director of MPIL at that time, Professor Rüdiger Wolfrum.

Since 2014, the Foundation has focused its activities in Sudan on the support of the ongoing constitutional reform. In 2014, the former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir had called upon political forces and civil society in the country to take part in an inclusive National Dialogue addressing the enormous social, political, security, and economical challenges confronting the Republic. The National Dialogue was intended to culminate in an inclusive process of constitutional reform to enshrine the agreements reached within the Dialogue in a new constitutional document to replace the 2005 Interim National Constitution of the Republic of the Sudan (INC). However, while the National Dialogue Conference was eventually launched in October 2015, in the end, it did not materialise in an inclusive process. Some of the major political parties refrained from participating.

In reaction to the further deterioration of the economic situation in the country in April 2019, President Omer al-Bashir and his regime were overthrown by the military and the declaration of a transitional period and the suspension of the current Sudanese Interim Constitution of 2005 followed. The latter reinvigorated the previous Sudanese endeavours towards a new constitution to replace the INC.

The Foundation has been supporting the Sudan's commitments towards an inclusive constitutional reform with various projects particularly aimed at strengthening the legal capacities of relevant Sudanese stakeholders in the area of comparative constitutional law since 2014. Consequently, the Foundation continues to strengthen these efforts at a time when the country is standing at a crossroads; a time when constitutional guidance and technical legal support in this respect is most needed.

Even though the two projects have differing target groups, are being funded by different donors and are generally speaking independently implemented, they nevertheless complement each other; they both pursue the same overall objective to support an inclusive constitutional reform in Sudan. The Foundation provides the legal capacity building measures on a technical level focusing on core matters of comparative constitutional law and constitutional drafting processes. The trainings follow an academic and comparative law approach with consideration for the constitutional history of the Sudanese Republic, outlining international legal standards and introducing best model practices on constitutional design. The latter are carefully selected in accordance with the local needs and prerequisites and with respect to the Sudanese constitutional framework and context. Hence, as always, the Foundation is implementing these projects by strictly adhering to its guiding principles of neutrality, independence and local ownership.