Home | News    Wednesday 15 December 2010

Sudan’s constitutional court agrees to hear challenge against referendum commission


December 14, 2010 (KHARTOUM) – The highest judicial body in Sudan has reportedly accepted a legal challenge presented by a group of lawyers seeking a ruling on alleged violations related to the voter registration process in preparation for the South Sudan referendum scheduled for January 9, 2011.

A policeman stands guard after a group of lawyers delivered. papers to the constitutional court as part of their legal bid to halt a referendum on southern Sudanese independence, in Khartoum December 12, 2010 (Reuters)

The Sudanese Media Center (SMC) website, widely believed to be run by intelligence services, quoted Ismail Hassan Haj-Hamad head of legal team that filed the challenge as saying that the Sudan Constitutional Court accepted the motion “in form and content”.

Haj-Hamad said that the next step would be for the court to consider relief requested by them and also order the South Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) to file a response to the motion after hearing the arguments and then issue a final ruling.

He said that they have asked the court to annul all procedures arising out of the voter registration and immediately halt work of the SSRC until the court reaches a decision on whether the commission should be dissolved and have a new one established that would adhere with the Referendum Act of 2009.

The lawyers have officially filed their case last Sunday saying they “represent ordinary citizens who believe that their constitutional rights have been violated”.

Lawyers speaking to Reuters said that the court would likely rule after three days.

Three weeks of voter registration for the referendum ended last week, with almost three million people signing up to vote in the south, electoral officials said.

The Muslim north and mostly Christian and animist south agreed in 2005 to hold the referendum as part of the peace accord that ended a 22-year civil war in Sudan, Africa’s largest country. The people of south Sudan must choose between secession and staying united with the north.

Analysts and observers expect that the Southerners, bitter after more than two decades of civil war, will opt for establishing their independent state.

Sources told Sudan Tribune last week that a number of Southern figures backed by the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) will seek to file a lawsuit against SSRC to obtain a ruling that the commission’s has violated the interim constitution and the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in conducting the voter registration.

Among the arguments put forward by the group that the referendum law stipulates that registering the voters and finalizing the lists should have been completed three months prior to the vote. Because the Sudanese national assembly has not passed any amendments to the current law and thus the voter registration process should be deemed unconstitutional.

Another source at the commission told Sudan Tribune that the SSRC chief Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil has already informed both the NCP and the SPLM of the legal loopholes that exist in the process but received no response.

He added that Khalil was directly warned by a handful of NCP officials that they will push for a legal challenge against his commission and it was hinted to him that he should resign.

The head of the SSRC came under fierce attack in recent weeks from the NCP which claimed that he has turned a blind eye to "blatant" violations committed by the SPLM in the registration process.

The NCP alleges that the ex-Southern rebel group is intimidating potential voters so that they don’t register in order to make it likely that the referendum will result in a vote for secession. Last month, the NCP stressed that they will not recognize the outcome of the referendum if the registration process continues in this non-transparent manner.

Sudan official news agency (SUNA) quoted a court official on Monday as saying that there are five challenges filed so far related to voter registration and the fifth claiming that the 2005 peace agreement is unconstitutional. The latter was reported to have been made by an Egyptian lawmaker.

The head of the SSRC said he knew of six legal petitions against the process, and added that the court would hear both sides’ arguments before giving a ruling.

"This kind of situation which is fraught with emotion and political overtones, I don’t think it would accept it so easily," he told Reuters

The new development could have severe repercussions particularly if the court grants an injunction to temporarily suspend the work of the commission which would surely cause a delay in conducting the highly sensitive vote.

In the worst case scenario, the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM), which controls the South, could decide to unilaterally declare independence or conduct its own referendum.

Observers say that a feeling of disappointment among Southerners that is caused by a postponed referendum could trigger violence in the region.


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  • 15 December 2010 05:37, by Anyang

    All they are doing is just a waste of time, energy and money,but their attempt is inevitably deem to fail.

    • 15 December 2010 08:17, by Diu J.Kuek

      To SPLM Leadership and Internatinal community should be well prepare to the response of downplay by Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil and his NCP; Ibrahim Khalil is the one who sue his commission an indirected to get the way out from the commission as too much pressure on him by NCP handful officials that push him for legal challenge gainst his commission as eventually will lead to his resignation will not be surprise for us.

      Sudan’s Constitutional Court is NCP court as agree to hear challenge against Southern Sudan referendum commission which is known to every one this moved has no legal validity is contradicted to Article 222(1)(2)clauses(a)(b) Sudan Interim Constitution in the South Sudan Self-determination abide by our constitution.

      Therefore base on this point the legal teams head by Ismail Hassan Haj Hamed indicated that they are ignorants of Law.by logical reason the question can ask do the SLPM having jurisdiction over security in Northern States to intimidate the voters registration answer is NO.

      All the aims of this moved is to thwart the successfully of referendum plebiscite January/9/2011.
      The NCP and Chairperson of SSRC Mohamed Ibrahim their plitical objective is to delay the process of referendum as result prof Mohamed will step down from his position as chairman.

      The SPLM leadership and the various parties should prepare for outcome of NCP Court any shortest of this;will be the declaration of the independence of Southern Sudan by Legislative Assembly of GOSS.

      Justice Chan Reek Madut deputy chairperman of SSRC should be affirmative for his position regarding political games by NCP and as you are a legal practioner, as it come to legal matter, please come up and protect your compatriots; its your time now to show your capacity in that matter as a Southerners.

      By Diu J.Kuek

    • 15 December 2010 10:19, by Peter Mading

      These Judges have nothing to do. Southerners shall go. No any other option.Constitutional Courts shall first review breached of the Constitutions and Human rights violiation since the birth of Sudan in 1956. Referndum Act 2009 has not been violated. It is NCP violating the Act 2009 and Time line of the referendum.

    • 15 December 2010 10:51, by okucu pa lotinokwan

      Dear southerners,how come that Sudan,s constitutional court have right on southern Sudan Referendum since this court belong to National Criminal Party NCP,to hell with their bad ideas on our Referendum result.


      • 15 December 2010 14:44, by Akech

        ma bro let me tell you that plan B has started ,and that is why criminal court has agrees on it.you know wat when the snak is inside house the best thing is to destroyed the house.so this time northern will not scape mass destruction inside the big house.let them mess up with southern sudan referedum.it will be there end for good and ever.by proud southern

  • 15 December 2010 06:43, by LOJUBA

    Dear NCP,


  • 15 December 2010 06:58, by Biliu

    Those attempts are not surprising us (southerners) anymore, and for sure we will stand for our right to self-determination wither Khartoum and it’s Southern watch dogs like it or not, in case the constitutional court postponed the process, we will deem that as an attempt to annul the whole process and thus will give us the right to conduct our own referendum in the South….there are only three options left 1- to conduct the referendum on time as scheduled..2- South will conduct it’s own referendum..3-going back to war, not to liberate the whole Sudan this time…South Sudan only.. any option North will choose from these there is ok with us………….freedom is coming on 9/1/2011.....Amen

  • 15 December 2010 07:45, by Paul Chadrack

    Never use this legitimate name, "constitutional court" for this illegal arab terrorist court which was created by NCP to destroy the referendum, why all those who file the case are all northerners?, this is a clear indications that arabs are now on way for the implementation of their so call plan B, which will automatically fell. any attempt by the court to push the date of referendum will be met with UDI.

  • 15 December 2010 08:10, by Sudan virus

    This is the last option for Sudan!

    I suggest plat destruction of Khartoum,so the north will re-build it as we southerns start building Juba from scraps in the south.Because, through my experience in the Sudan,the Arabs never believe in peaceful solution to political,social and economic affairs.

    Nothing else.

    • 15 December 2010 14:28, by Akech

      i don’t agree with dat kind of court which criminal guys set up for southern sudan independent result,we southerness time has come to move way from dictators to news democracy face.with court or without court we must to go by all meant.it is turning point for all southerness ,no one can try to stop us from going.GOD said dat southerness will unite themself and ruled there own state as it is coming soon on janaury 9th 2011.khail is political player and southerness need to be very keen

  • 15 December 2010 08:25, by Pro-independence

    What dose the Egyptian lawmaker want?
    Where was he in Jan 2005 when the CPA was signed in Kenya?
    Who is behind him?
    When did he learn of CPA?
    How do the issues of South Sudan become Egypt’s concern?
    Does he know who are the witnesses and guarantors of the CPA?
    The Egyptians think the are big, extra large, XXXXXXL. Both Egypt and North Sudan look at South Sudan as an under dog. Tell them that a frog has ever killed and elephant.
    They always think the Nile water is theirs, no it belongs to all of us, Ugandans, South Sudanese, North Sudanese, the Egyptians and every one in the world!
    For those South Sudanese who are being used by the NCP to drag the SSRC to court, they are just after money. Otherwise it does not require Solomon’s wisdom to understand that their effort has boarded to failure.
    They just want to make headlines in news. Tomorrow one will hear they have crossed to SPLM and have castigated NCP for being not sincere bla, bla, bla.
    What they are doing can be termed as the last kick of a dying horse.

    • 15 December 2010 08:57, by landlord

      Brother those Egyptian are empty minded like the son of bitch so called omonio de otario who don’t have job to do and just hidding behind the computer and talked business whereas we meant business

      shame on Egyptian and de so called omonoi de otario son of the poor famliy.

      • 15 December 2010 10:39, by King Tut


        You filthy rat,go away with your impulsive messages.
        Stop dividing people into Equatoria and what you so termed,Nasir gangs.
        You think you are not ready for war because of an imagined fear of existent of such dangerous groups? Then my cowards friend be ready to be a third class citizen,or in a worst case scenario,a slave in Sudan. We can fight together so long as there is a clear understanding of the course we want to achieve. Do not hang out very much in the past,we can work our way toward a successful future together now.
        As you well know,you are nothing without others.

        As to the regard of the court case against the conduct of the referendum,it’s nothing surprising to someone who knows the Northern position on the referendum.The North has said it very clearly, time and time again that they are for a united Sudan even though they didn’t work for it(making it attractive).Have anyone ever wonder what the North intend to do in order to keep the country united? Having tactically evaded the wider notion of an attractive unity to southerners,(meaning,they the North would show that they are worthy partner by giving the South an equal attention as other parts of the country,in terms of development projects,putting the region at per with other parts of the country and above all,dismantling the old Islamic governance system in favor of a secular and democratic system of governance),the plan ’Bs’ has always been on the agenda of the khartoum government.
        The failure to use Southern based militias and other ’divide and rule policies’ to cause wide spread ethnic violent across the region which originally made up the plan ’As’, Khartoum had to rethink its strategy on preventing a successful and peaceful referendum conduct on the independent of the South.The perfect game of delaying the referendum conduct would be to challenge it constitutionally as it occurred to them,maybe they would have diplomatic edge over this as denying the South it right through other open undiplomatic means could lead to isolation of Khartoum on the international scene and much worse to a military confrontation with the much military strengthened SPLA.I bet,in the coming few days,the court would grant the North it’s wish,and the referendum activities would come to a halt for indefinite time and if it where up to the North,the referendum is a nightmare that should never be real,therefore should not take place at all.

        The question is,is the South ready to take other alternative forms of making sure the South exercise its right of self-determination through a timely conduct of referendum? We know of assurance from our leaders that, would the referendum be delayed for whatever reason,the South would conduct it referendum through its SSRC branch in Juba.The likelihood of unilateral declaration of independent has been rule out as unnecessary,but I think it’s where the hope of people for an independent State lies.Having a self conducted referendum is feasible but is difficult on many fronts,though it is worth a shot.But I know unilateral declaration of independent can delivers a lot,although there are legal loopholes in the process,they can be deal with in time.

  • 15 December 2010 10:44, by John Gum

    Dear ALL
    You are right but prepare to educate our peoples on how they will vote during voting day b’se villagers no nothing altleast they get basic education.this Arab have been trying to confused but we will not accept any false allegation,thus our country will remain as for South-Sudanese.

  • 15 December 2010 14:26, by Jongkuch

    Lawsuit against the voter registeration process is a crime directed at the very existence of South Sudanese. Anything that will stop me voting on the earlier hours of January 9,2011 is simply unacceptable. There is no court under the Sun that has a gut to stop our walk to freedom. Never!


    • 16 December 2010 01:41, by Deng Ateny Lueth

      if khartoum court has strong legal authority to hear false accusation formulated and smeared against SSRC by dieheart in Khartoum, then i too, want to challenge the court to do whatever it can in its power bestowed it by sudanese majority to force bashir out of power and then sent him to the hague for some questioning regarding the alleged crimes he and his millitias committed against humanity and genocidal attrocities against Darfurian.

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