Latest News From Sudan
Please feel free to send us your Press Release to [email protected]

Declaration of Nairobi consulation on Sudan constituion

5/25/2005 10:31am

Together for a Democratic Constitution in post-conflict Sudan

18TH 21ST APRIL 2005
THEME: Together for a Democratic Constitution in Post-conflict Sudan
18- 21 APRIL 2005
At the invitation of Justice Africa, a consultation meeting was held in Nairobi on 18-21 April 2005. The consultation brought together twenty four constitutional Experts, politicians, Lawyers, Civil Society Activists, Women, Men from different schools of thoughts and political groups in Northern Sudan, Southern Sudan, Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile. The participants discussed the Sudans interim period draft National Constitution, prepared by the committee of (7+7) between representatives of the Sudanese government and the Sudanese People Liberation Movement / Army (SPLM/A), based on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed by the two parties in January 9, 2005 and the current 1998 Sudan Constitution.
Working papers were presented and interventions made that tackled the main contentious issues in the proposed constitutional draft within the allowed limited period of time. The participants explored extensively the previous Sudanese constitutional experiences and the present political and social movements. Specific issues were focused on during the discussions such as human rights, Gender, minority rights, rights of nationals and indigenous groups, source of legislation, Nature of the State, levels of governance, independence of the judiciary, supremacy of the rule of law etc. Participants were also concerned with problems relating to participation in the Constitution Review Committee that will deliberate on this draft before ratification by the Assemblies of the two parties.
The participants noted the stark contradictions in the proposed constitutional draft. The contradictions clearly emanates from the agreement itself despite its great value in stopping the war and promising a peace with democratic transformation. The main declared goal of IGAD sponsored negotiations was the solution of South Sudan problem. This led to the logic that restricted the peace negotiation process to the warring parties namely the Government of Sudan and the SPLM/A. However, the issues discussed under the Sudan Peace process were broaden to include practically all Sudanese national problems. The agreement therefore became inevitably comprehensive in its content and subsequently the Constitutional draft based on it. Unfortunately, this comprehensiveness was restricted to the two negotiating parties only excluding the wider representatives of the Sudanese people. Large sector of the people in Sudan seem unconvinced neither by the peace agreement nor by this constitutional draft. They doubt their adequacy in solving Sudan problems including armed confrontations as in Darfur that are likely to escalate in other parts of the country. This paradox have resulted into the current dilemma among sizeable sectors of the Sudanese population by welcoming the peace agreement including the constitutional draft in one hand and those who deeply feel the inadequacy of these documents in providing assurance and comprehensive resolution of other Sudanese problems on the other.
Participants noted the contradiction that this draft in its present form is not a transitional basic law intended to govern the interim period or the specific years prior to the elections with its governing instruments dictated by parties to the peace agreement alone, as an exceptional measure imposed by obvious historical necessity, but it is a permanent constitution, regardless of being named interim. This constitution being drafted is intended to continue binding even after the election which results are expected to express the democratic will of the people. This will have its implications on the elected legislative and government. Moreover, the constitution continues obligatory upon the Sudanese people after expiration of the six years interim period and exercise of the referendum on self-determination, regardless of its outcome whether unity or separation.
Participants noted that the percentage of participation in the Constitution Review Committee adopted and announced by the two parties and created political polarization was not originally part of the agreement. The parties adopted these percentages at a later stage as part of implementation mechanism.
Participants discussed Articles 3.1 of the Machakos Protocol, which stipulates that the National Interim Constitution that shall be the Supreme Law of the land should govern the interim period. Article2.12.4.2 of (Power Sharing Protocol) further stipulates that a national representative National Constitutional Review Commission shall prepare a Legal and Constitutional Framework (The Constitutional Text). The participants also deliberated on Article 2.12.5 of (Power Sharing Protocol) which stipulates that, the first task assigned to the National Constitutional Review Commission is the preparation of framework of a legal and constitutional text.
As a result of extensive discussions of the articles above, the participants concluded that what is required and possible at the present is simply an enactment of constitutional framework or a legal and Constitutional Framework Constitutional Text. The country at present doesnt need a comprehensive and permanent constitution that governs it in situation of unity or secession as envisaged by the proposed draft constitution. Hence, the participants recommended the following:
(1) The Interim National Constitution that is the constitutional framework or framework of legal and constitutional text should govern the first three years of the peace agreement. This is specifically the period prior to the elections according to (Article 2.8.3) of (Power Sharing Agreement), (Article3.3) of (The Resolution of the Conflict in the Two Areas of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile), in addition to what have been agreed upon regarding the elections period between the Government of Sudan and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) including the SPLM/A.
(2) The Interim National Constitution that is the constitutional framework or framework of legal and constitutional text should embody clauses of the peace agreement specific and pertaining to Southern Sudan and the three areas.
(3) The Interim National Constitution that is the constitutional framework or legal and constitutional text should expressly stipulate that all parties to the elections at the end of the third year should commit themselves to effect that the democratically elected institutions namely, the legislative, the government and commissions will continue the implementation of clauses of the peace agreement. This commitment should include in particular clauses of the peace agreement pertaining to Southern Sudan and the three areas until the end of the interim period and the exercise of the referendum on the right of self-determination. They should further commit themselves that the commission entrusted with drafting the permanent constitution shall embody the same.
Participants also recommended the importance of the (constitutional draft committee) or (constitutional review commission) to be inclusive in its formation. The committee/commission should have considerable participation from various political stakeholders in the country. Their representation should be fair, reasonable and reflects the diversity of Sudan. The basic lesson of nationally accumulated historical experience is that no any constitutional arrangements are durable without inclusiveness and wider participation of the Sudanese people. Moreover, any constitutional arrangement that ignores or neglects this basic lesson will only result in wasted efforts. The fate of such constitutional arrangements will not be better than the fate of past Sudanese constitutions promulgated and imposed by various authoritarian regimes.
Participants criticized the shortcomings of the Constitutional draft itself and its neglect of some basic freedoms and fundamental rights. The participants noted with concern lack of precision required to guarantee and ensure supremacy of the rule of law and independence of the Judiciary in the draft. Moreover, the draft lacks clarity regarding the right of minorities, nationalities, indigenous groups in governing their regions and participation in all levels of governance including the National Federal Government.
Participants also criticized the authoritarian methodology and approach in constitutional drafting. The Executive preceding the Legislature in the draft constitution is a clear example of such approach. Such approach is contrary to the spirit of the peace agreement itself. Moreover, this constitutional drafting style formally violates one of the main objectives of the peace agreement namely achieving the democratic transformation. This amounts to adversely affect the content of the draft itself.
Participants discussed the drafts violation of the basic rules and precepts that should be followed in constitutional and legal drafting. The participants noted that the draft text was full of repeated provisions, ambiguous language, vague expressions, loose formulation that is not in conformity with constitutional or legal terminology. The participants recommended that such terminologies should be made legally uniform, clear and straightforward. Examples of lack of clarity abound in the draft. Meaning of phrases such as (sovereignty of the nation is embodied in its population) in Article 2 is unclear. For example it is not clear what is meant by (nation) and by (population of the nation). These ambiguities are stark departures from precise terminology and versions of constitutional doctrine such as (sovereignty is for the people, it practices it in accordance with the constitution). This confusion also appeared in the use of unusual wording as (relieve) instead of (remove). The draft text also seems uncertain as to the legal/constitutional concepts. It fluctuates between the concepts of democracy and Shura Islamic consultation. The draft uses the word (voter) at times and (qualified voter) at another. The same trend continues as in the usage of phrase Institution of the Presidency and The Republican Head-Quarters. The text further seems at times contented with the word Presidency in reference to Institution of the Presidency and The Republican Head-Quarters. Again, the text adopted simultaneous identical usage for the terms National Judicial Authority and National Judicial Association, also the National Legislative Authority and the National Legislative Association. The participants noted that mentioning of specific parties by name in the draft is contrary to generality of the constitution in form and practice. Ambiguity of some clauses in both structure and meaning must be avoided as in the case of vacancy of the post of the President of the Republic and the First Vice President of the Republic before the elections.
Participants observed that, such formulations and ambiguities could certainly lead to confusion as to the intentions of the parties and the meanings of the constitutional articles. This could in turn lead to various conflicting interpretations in the future. As result of these discussions, the participants reached resolutions and recommendations contained in the following declaration:

I. General Principles

► Participants affirmed that the constitutional issue is a concern to all the people of Sudan in their various sectors and active forces as it affects their basic lives. The monopoly by parties to the comprehensive peace agreement and their allies in preparation and ratification of the interim constitution do not provide the necessary respect to this constitutional document. Moreover, this doesnt further ensure the implementation of its rules. The participants agreed on the necessity of widening participation of all Sudanese political and social forces in drafting the interim constitutional framework. The constitutional review commission should be inclusive with reasonable and fair ratio of representation to be agreed upon in order to achieve the national consensus in accordance to democratic criteria.

►Participants affirmed their general support to the comprehensive peace agreement specially its outstanding achievement in stopping the war in the South. They consider stopping the war as a remarkable and outstanding step towards stopping all military confrontations in other parts of the country, which may in turn open the way to its peaceful resolution. The participants affirmed their total commitment to all rights and gains achieved by the South and the three areas (South Kordofan + Blue Nile + Abyei) in the comprehensive peace agreement. Participants recommend these rights and gains to be embodied in the constitutional framework of the interim period. However, the participants affirmed at the same time, that this commitment should not deny the other Sudanese political forces the right of formulating authority framework that determines the levels of governance in the North including laying the bases for sound system of rule in Sudan.

► Participants affirmed the necessity of all State policies to be based on compliance with ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic diversities on one hand and political pluralism on the other. Moreover, the state policies should comply with guarantees of freedoms, basic rights, supremacy of the rule of law and separation of powers. These commitments should form the foundation for consolidation of democratic practice, reinforcement of national unity, upholding values of tolerance, peaceful coexistence and acceptance of each other.

► Participants emphasized the importance of reinforcing constitutionalism as a value not less than the constitution itself in guaranteeing citizen rights and participation. They affirmed the need to disseminate the culture of democracy, human rights, peace and voluntary unity. Violation of any of these values must be subject to condemnation legally, morally and politically.

► Participants emphasized the importance that the interim constitution should reflect the indivisible and interrelated approach to human rights regarding civil, political, economic, social, cultural, individual and group rights. Participants further emphasized the necessity of balanced and comprehensive development in all the regions of the country. The role of the State in planning with policies aimed at poverty alleviation combined with gender perspective based upon human rights was also affirmed.

► Participants recommended that the drafting of the constitution should not be limited or restricted whatsoever. Instead the aim of constitutional drafting should be to widen the choices whereby it can be guided by the result of the democratic dialogue between national groups based on equality and the background of the previous constitutional experience and the experience of other nations. Participants stressed that no provision on source of legislation should be stated in the constitution. It is to be noted that legislation is the right of the people dully exercised by its democratically elected representatives who are in the legislative authority. Focus, therefore should be on the issue of legislation not on its sources.

► Participants affirmed the importance of making unity an attractive choice for the people of Sudan. For this to be achieved the draft should refrain from provisions and legislation that can discriminate between citizens on basis of religion, culture and gender. Any existing discriminating legislation should be suspended until the establishment of democratically elected legislative body and drafting permanent constitution for the country.

► Participants affirmed the importance of creating conducive environment for responsible political practice that addresses the grievances and bitterness of past systematic human rights violations in the country. The draft constitution therefore should provide for methods of truth and national reconciliation guided by Sudanese cultural values and experiences of other nations.

II. Basic Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

► Participants observed that the draft interim constitution was not comprehensive in listing all freedoms and rights that should be stated in the constitution. They further observed that some of the stated freedoms were vague and imperfectly drafted that could lead to conflicting interpretations. Such conflicting interpretations could threaten its validity in practice or undermined through legislative excesses and violations.

► Participants affirmed and agreed on an integrated document for Bill of Rights, as it should clearly be stated in the desired constitutional framework The Bill protects individual and group rights anchored on the independence of the judiciary. It also provides robust enjoyment of all individual and groups with it; it provides them with full and enough guarantees for enjoyment of these rights against the executive. The document contain 37 Articles including supremacy of the rule of law the right to a fair trial Protection of human dignity Prohibition of torture right to life Prohibition of detention and arrest Prohibition of slavery and servitude right to equality freedom of thought, expression, media and information freedom of association and social organization freedom of establishment of political parties freedom of movement freedom of faith and worship right to litigation right to education right to health care right to employment, equal wages and strike- sanctity of privacy political rights rights of cultural groups rights of ownership right to nationality rights of Persons with special needs children rights rights of mentally affected persons rights of the family rights of motherhood Women rights- right to food and emancipation from hunger rights of accused and convicted personsright for political asylum etc.

► Participants recommended that in addition to the Bill of Rights, the draft constitution should commit the government of Sudan to all international human rights conventions and treaties. These conventions should be enacted into domestic legislation and the existing laws must be reviewed to conform accordingly.

► Participants recommended that to enhance the protection of basic rights and fundamental freedoms contained in the Bill of Rights an independent Human Rights Commission should be formed in accordance with international standards.

► Participants recommended that the draft interim constitution should provide for prohibition of any legislation or law that restrict rights and freedoms. Any legislation and laws pertaining to rights and freedoms should not restrict their enjoyment but only regulate its application in accordance with international standards.

► Participants recommended that the draft constitution should prohibit any derogation regarding rights and freedoms except in accordance with established international standards and by approval of (three quarter) majority of both National legislative and Council of States convening separately.

► Participants recommended that no derogations should be allowed in regard to certain rights and freedoms namely right to life, right to human dignity, protection from torture, right for fair trial, protection from slavery and exploitation, right to equality, right of Association including the right to establish political parties and social organizations, freedom of faith and worship, right to litigation. Any regulations depriving citizens of freedoms and rights stipulated in the Bill of Rights should be null and void.

► The participants recommended that in case of any unavoidable restrictions to rights and freedoms as during the state of emergency that threatens the country, it must be clearly stated that the restrictions are limited and temporary. The law declaring the state of emergency must expressly stipulate the rights being restricted and the nature of the restrictions. Moreover, the state of emergency itself should be subject to independent judicial supervision and control.

III. Independence of the Judiciary and the Rule of Law

► Participants noted that the various authoritarian regimes in Sudan including the current Salvation regime have systematically eroded the principles of judicial independency in the country. Those regimes compromised the objectivity, neutrality, impartiality and competence of the judiciary. To undermine the independence of the judiciary the current Sudanese authoritarian regime purged competent judges and replaced them with incompetent political loyalists. The participants therefore recommended overhauling this sector by extensive legal reform in the judiciary and related institutions to rebuild professionalism and independence.

► Participants also recommended that the constitution should guarantee independence of the Judiciary and the constitutional court administratively and financially. This independence should include administration of justice, protection of judges from state intervention, respect to its judgments and execution of its rulings.

Participants recommended that the appointment of the President, members of the Constitutional Court, Chief Justice and members of the Supreme Court must be after public hearing at the Council of States and approval by of its members.

Participants recommended that persons appointed to the judiciary must be competent, honest and trustworthy. The persons should not be politically active and should adhere to the application of the rule of law without discrimination or prejudice. Moreover, the persons should be of strong moral character to safeguard them from undue influences.

Participants recommended that tenure of office for members of the Judiciary and provision of appropriate working conditions must be constitutionally guaranteed. The constitution must also prohibit dismissal or suspension of judges except in accordance to law in a transparent and fair process.

Participants recommended that the Constitutional Court should have the jurisdiction of trying the President, Vice Presidents, the President of the National Assembly, members of the Supreme courts of North and South Sudan. The decisions of the constitutional court shall be binding and not subject to approval or review by the Legislature or any other authority.

Participants recommended establishment of Judicial Service Commission (former Judicial Council). The aim of this Judicial Service Commission should include review of grievances against past policies of unfair dismissal to members of the judiciary. Such policies resulted in lost of rare and competent judges. It is prudent therefore to establish rules and regulations that could guarantee transparency in appointments and promotions. These regulations should enshrine affirmative action in employment regarding women, people of Southern Sudan and historically marginalized areas without compromising the judiciary recruitment standards.

Participants affirmed the importance of widening the concept of the Attorney General or Public Attorney to include among its main duties protection of the Society. Currently, the AttorneyGenerals role is the protection of the State. Its role should also include guaranteeing equality and upholding the rule of law in the country. However, some participants suggested separation of the Ministry of Justice from the Attorney-General Chambers, while others suggested that the separation was unnecessary.

Participants affirmed the independence of Advocacy Profession and the necessity of regulating its professional and trade union structures through an independent law. The law should guarantee its efficiency and eliminates any impediments to carrying out its principle goal of defending basic rights, fundamental freedoms and upholding the rule of law.

IV. State Structure and levels of Governance

Participants observed that the draft constitution concluded an asymmetrical federal system of governance between the North and South during the interim period. This system of governance created Southern Sudan with its constitution, legislative, government with ten states and their various constitutions, legislative assemblies and governments. The South also has the right of participation in various levels of the National Federal Government. On the other hand, the North, with all its states is under the National Federal Government. The participants, therefore, noted that such arrangements were unfair as it deprived the Northern States not only of their formal rights and content but also with exercising these rights that meet their national aspirations.

Participants recommended the following:

o Affirmation of the decentralized system of rule in Sudan during the interim period.

o Affirmation of regional governance of Southern Sudan with its states, constitutions, legislatives, governments and any other privileges derived from the comprehensive peace agreement. This affirmation includes its ratio and percentages at the national federal level including holding of the position of First Vice-President by the President of the Government of South Sudan.

o Establishment of Six States in Northern Sudan each with their constitutions, legislatives and governments. The Northern states should consist of the following: Northern, Eastern, Central, Khartoum, Kordofan and Darfur. Every state shall have number of states with relevant constitutions, legislatives and governments in addition to local council levels in accordance with the wishes of the people in each region. Such arrangement will create balance at the federal governance level between the North and the South. It will further bring the administration closer to people, ensure participation in governance and consolidate democracy.

o The presidents of Regional Governments shall become vice-presidents except the region from which the President is nationally elected. The powers for vie-presidents shall be agreed upon without prejudice to the agreed powers of the First vice-President of the Republic who shall be the President of Government of Southern Sudan in accordance with Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

o Participants agreed that the power sharing and the levels of governance provided in the agreement for Southern Sudan be generalized to the other regions of the country except the special rights acquired by the south for historical reasons like the Right of self-determination, separate army and limited independent external relations.

o Participants noted that the most significant privileges acquired by the two areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile in the agreement is the land Commission and popular consultations. These privileges could be generalized to the other Regions of the country, as this will consolidate the democratic process in the Sudan. This will also lead to merging the two areas into Kordofan region and Central region respectively without prejudice to their special status stipulated in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Such arrangements will make the unity option attractive.

o Participants emphasized as well that all other privileges and rights acquired by the two areas or any other area in the comprehensive peace agreement such as Developmental funds and special military status must be adhered to and guaranteed. These privileges and rights do not contradict or adversely affect the proposed Federal governance arrangements stated in this declaration.

o Participants noted that the special arrangements agreed on Abyei in accordance of Annex 2, page 73 Arabic versions, are principally based on the American Initiative presented by Senator John Danforth on 19/03/2004. The participants affirmed their support to the agreement on Abyei but emphasized guaranteeing the historical rights of passage and grazing to the Messiryia Arabs through Abyei. This right should not be guaranteed during the interim period only but as permanent rights irrespective of the result of the Referendum on Self-determination.

o Participants noted that the draft stipulates appointment of Legislative authority by the Presidency before the elections with defined percentages: 70% Northerners and 30% Southerners. The National Congress Party percentage is 52% (49% Northerners + 3% Southerners), SPLM 28% (21% Northerners + 7% Northerners), other Northern political forces 14% and other Southern political forces 6%. Participants noted with concern that such arrangement is faulty and unjust as it is clear indication of perpetuating authoritarianism even upon the Legislative body that will be subsequently elected.

o Participants noted that the so-called Interim constitution is actually a Permanent constitution in accordance with Articles 222.1,222.2, which equates voting for unity to voting to this proposed draft constitution at the end of the interim period. Moreover, Article 226.7 presupposes that in case the referendum result is separation, the constitutional articles pertaining to the South shall be deleted. Hence, the other constitutional articles shall continue enforced in the remaining new state of Northern Sudan. The participants expressed concern that this arrangement have no justification whatsoever for an interim process. It creates a permanent arrangement dictated by only two parties of the wider Sudanese political spectrum. The paradox is that this arrangement continues even when one of the parties to it not only withdraws from the political process but also opts out completely from Sudan, the land that the constitutional arrangements envisage to govern permanently.

o Participants noted that on power sharing formula between the North and the South at the Federal level (both legislative and executive), the parties agreed on percentages of (70% Northerners and 30% Southerners). The National Congress Party 52%, SPLM 28%, other Northern political forces 14% and other Southern political forces 6%. This is in accordance to Article 5.2.2 and Para.2 of Implementation Modalities. Participants resolved that the percentage distribution was random without logic, verifiable formula and reference. The adverse implication of such a random formula is that it harms the comprehensive peace agreement and democratic transformation as it divides Sudan on religious basis: Islamic North and non-Islamic South. Moreover, the power sharing formula where the percentage of the National Congress Party in the Northern States is 70%, SPLM/A is 10% and the rest of the political forces including armed groups in West and East Sudan are 20% is not acceptable. This will in turn create instability and warfare in other parts of the country.

o Participants also noted that on power sharing formula in the South (both legislative and executive levels), the parties agreed on percentages of SPLM/A 70%, National Congress Party 15% and other southern political forces 15%. At the States level the SPLM 70%, National Congress Party 10%, other Southern political forces 20%. This is in accordance to Article 2.2.5 of power sharing protocol and Para.2 of Implementation Modalities. Participants again resolved that the percentage distribution was random without logic, verifiable formula and reference. In southern Kordofan and Blue Nile the percentages are between National Congress 55% and SPLM/A 45 and no percentages for other northern and southern political forces. In Southern Sudan there is no percentage allocated for other northern political forces. Again, the participants resolved that the percentage distribution was random without logic, verifiable formula and reference.

Participants therefore, recommended that the interim constitutional framework should embody alternative arrangements as follows:

1. The interim period should be divided into two parts of three years. The first part is the pre-elections period and the second part is post elections period.

2. The elections should be at the end of the third year of the interim period and not the fourth year as stipulated in Para.(9) of the Implementation Modalities. Here are the grounds for this assertion:

a) Article 1.8.3 of Power Sharing Protocol of the Agreement stipulates that General elections at all levels of Government shall be completed by the end of the third year of the Interim Period the first part of the interim period is three years.

b) Article 3.3 of the resolutions of the conflict in the two areas of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile stipulates that the popular consultation shall be conducted in the two areas through an elected legislature at the beginning of the fourth year from the implementation of the comprehensive peace agreement. This clearly means that the elections should be at the end of the third year and beginning of the fourth year.

c) The election date agreed between the Government of Sudan and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) including the SPLA/M is the end of the third year.

3. The constitutional framework should stipulate that before the elections (during the first three years) all political forces commit themselves and affirm the gains of South Sudan and the three areas as per the peace agreement. Moreover, the constitutional framework makes the agreement part and parcel of the interim constitution and reference for any issue regarding the South and the three areas. The political forces must commit themselves that the democratically elected government will continue the implementation of the agreement until the exercise of the rights of self-determination. Such commitments should include the percentages of power sharing for the South and the three areas at the federal level. This will form constructive guarantees for effective implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. These guarantees will further eliminate any attempt of considering the National Congress Party as the guarantor of the peace agreement. Hence, any reference to the National Congress Party in the

4. Review of power sharing percentages by all parties to achieve fair distribution through a consensus without affecting the percentages allocated to SPLM/A per Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The agreed percentage should be part of the constitutional framework in the first three years of the interim period preceding the elections.

5. In case that the Government of Sudan and SPLM/A rejecting the suggestions above, the participants emphasized the need to avoid political and constitutional deadlock that may jeopardize peace, unity and democratic transformation. Participants therefore recommended the following:

a) The parties to the agreement namely the Government of Sudan and the SPLM/A and their allies form the Executive for the first three years in accordance with percentages of power sharing (70%-30%) without prejudice to the percentages allocated to the SPLM/A.

b) Regarding the Legislature during the first three years of the interim period the participants had divergent views. While some suggested that the current government of the National Congress Party and its allies should be represented by 42%, the SPLM/A by 28%, other Northern political forces by 24% and the other southern political forces by 6%. Major decisions shall be taken by 75% of the votes. Other participants on the other hand suggested that all percentages must be changed with a view of providing inclusive, fair and equitable legislature. The majority needed for major decisions should be considerable. Such approach will in turn provide opportunity for other parties to influence events in the appointed National Interim Assembly through legislative accountability and supervision during the three years before the elections.

c) Participants recommended fair and equitable representation of the civil society in all institutions specially women in the North and the South.

6. Participants discussed the Independent National Commissions and recommended the following:

a) Establishment of eight Commissions namely, Human Rights Commission, Constitutional Commission, Judicial Commission, Civil Service Commission, Truth, Equity and Reconciliation Commission, Referendum Commission and Revenue Monitoring Commission. In all these commissions the representation should inclusive and allow for the other parties effective participation. Civil society especially women in North and South Sudan must be fairly represented.

b) Percentages agreed for in Para. (a) above, should apply to all commissions except the Human Rights Commission. It is recommended that the percentage of Northern and Southern political forces should be more than the National Congress Party and the SPLM/A (Partnership Government) representation on the Commission. This is justified by the fact that human rights violations are primarily expected from the Sudan Government and the SPLM/A partnership government than from the opposition.

c) Regarding the Judicial Commission, while some participants suggested its formation on political basis to provide political consensus on independence of the judiciary, others suggested that it should be formed from independent personalities on purely professional basis to avoid politicization of the Judiciary.

d) On civil service commission the participants recommended that its primary purpose should be review of grievances committed in early 90s that led to dismissals of many officials and workers for so-called public interest. The Commission should also rebuild the civil service and ensure its competence and independence. This commission should also consider application of affirmative action for women, people of southern Sudan and historically marginalized areas.

7. On Truth, Equity and Reconciliation Commission, the participants noted that the basis of its establishment is Article 1.7 of Power Sharing Protocol where the parties agreed to initiate a comprehensive process of national reconciliation and healing throughout the country as part of peace building process. In the light of previous national experiences, the participants recommended that reconciliation must be preceded by accountability, remedy, compensation and redress. These include material and moral remedy to individual and groups. There is no reconciliation based on forgiving the past but on justice. Accountability must replace impunity in Sudan. The constitution should make a new approach taking into consideration past experiences of other countries especially South Africas experience of Truth and Reconciliation and Moroccos Truth and Equity.

8. The democratically elected legislature and executive should commitment themselves to the implementation of the peace agreement during the second part of the interim period in accordance with the recommendations contained in this declaration.

V. Conclusion

Finally, the participants thank Justice Africa (Sudan Programme) for its invitation and DFID for its generous funding. Moreover, the participants hailed Justice Africas efficient organization of this consultation that provided an excellent opportunity to brainstorm on the vital and central issue of constitutional framework for the interim period. The participants appreciated the continuous efforts of Justice Africa in consolidating the role of the civil society regarding momentous events taking place in the Sudan. The participants further suggested that Justice Africa should work inside Sudan during the interim period with its Head Quarters in the national capital Khartoum and branches in other parts of the country. For more Sudan News

For More Articles and Analysies For more Press Releases
This report does not necessarily reflect the views of Sudanese

| Sudanese Songs | | Arabic News | Arabic Forum| | | | PC&Internet Forum| Press Releases

Home| Sudanese Directory | Tell a friend| Articles and Analysies | News | English Forum

Copyright 2000-2004
Sudanese Online.Com All rights reserved