Start date: 2013 (2002 - 2012 at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law)
Areas of expertise: Constitutional Law, Human Rights, Legislative and Constitutional Drafting, Legal Pluralism, Islamic Law, Electoral Law, Fundamental Principles of Governance, Independence of the Judiciary
Highlights: over 10 projects, 7+ seminars, 10+ workshops, 5+ roundtable conferences, 3+ Training of Trainers


Support to Constitutional and Legal Reform in the Republic of the Sudan

With its projects in Sudan (supported by the German Federal Foreign Office), the 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 Honorary 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 Sudanese endeavours towards a new constitution.

In 2014, the former Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir had called upon political forces and civil society to participate in a National Dialogue. This initiative eventually failed, mainly due to a lack of inclusiveness. In reaction to the further deterioration of the economic and general situation in the country in April 2019, former President Omer Al-Bashir and his regime were overthrown by the military. The 2005 Interim National Constitution of the Republic of the Sudan was first suspended and eventually replaced by the 2019 Constitutional Charter, which was supposed to serve as Sudanese interim constitution for a transitional period of 39 months. After a year-long series of negotiations in Juba, representatives of the transitional government signed the Comprehensive Juba Agreement for Peace in Sudan with the majority of armed opposition groups in Juba on 31 August 2020, and on 3 September 2020 a subsequent agreement with the Sudan People Liberation Movement-North (Al Hilu). Members of the former armed opposition have since been part of the transitional government. On 25 October 2021, the Sudanese military under General Abd Al Fatah Al Burhan removed the civilian government under prime minister Al-Hamduk from power, dissolved the Sovereignty Council and declared a state of emergency. In December 2022, the military and the Forces for Freedom and Change agreed on a Political Framework Agreement (PFA) supposed to pave the road toward a civilian government, the unification of all Sudanese armed groups under the Sudanese Armed Forces, institutional reforms, elections, and a permanent constitution. The Agreement has been much disputed and numerous groups, including those originally supportive of the military coup, refused to be part of the process. The PFA was supposed to lead to a transitional constitutional arrangement and a transitional government. However, protracted disagreement between SAF and RSF about the integration of the latter into the former eventually prevented the Agreement to be signed on 01 April 2023 as it had originally been scheduled. Subsequently, from 15 April 2023 SAF and RSF engaged in large-scale armed clashes in Khartoum and elsewhere in the country. At the time of writing, no end to the hostilities was in sight. Sudan’s progress toward a peaceful future is in jeopardy yet again. Despite these events, the Foundation’s Sudan team will continue its efforts to assist in establishing an interim constitution as well as a permanent constitution based on the principle of the rule of law and on democratic values in close cooperation with its Sudanese civil-society partners.

Throughout the years, the Foundation has been supporting Sudan’s commitments towards an inclusive constitutional reform with various projects. They particularly aimed at strengthening the legal capacities of relevant Sudanese stakeholders in the area of comparative constitutional law. The Foundation’s Sudan team has held events both in Khartoum as well as in different parts of the country (Darfur, North and South Kordofan, Red Sea State, Kassala). In terms of legal substance, the events cover a broad range of essential topics such as land rights and land use, power and wealth sharing, systems of governance in federal states, the judicial system, and the constitutional bill of rights. The military takeover in October 2021 led to a temporary cessation of contacts with government officials, but those will be resumed once a civilian-led government is back in place. The Foundation nevertheless continued throughout to cooperate with all civilian stakeholders across the political spectrum, including universities, former armed-opposition movements, tribal leaders, civil society organisations, and representatives of the legal professions. Apart from facilitating a broad constitutional dialogue, the Foundation has also provided legal assistance in drafting core legislation related to the constitutional, legal, and institutional reform process. This includes comments on Sudanese draft laws on political parties, national elections, and access to justice. Apart from holding events in Sudan, members of the team are deployed in Sudan on an alternating basis to advise the Ministry of Justice and other stakeholders on the issues mentioned. Foundation staff mainly focus on ensuring that envisaged Sudanese legislation is compatible with the principles and practice of international law. In doing so, the Foundation pursues a strict academic approach based on the methodology of international comparative law in line with its guiding principles of impartiality, independence, and local ownership.

Current projects in Sudan

  • There are no current projects

Completed projects in Sudan