The Legal History of Sudan

This section provides an overview of Sudan

Sudan in 2011

United States views on international law (based on the document “Digest of U.S. Practice in International Law”): During 2011, the United States continued its bilateral and multilateral initiatives to support full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 (“CPA”) and to end the conflict in Darfur.

In January, the people of South Sudan participated in an orderly and successful referendum on independence. In February, the Government of South Sudan announced the results of the referendum. The results were acknowledged and accepted by the United States and other nations. Secretary Clinton stated:

The United States congratulates the Government of Sudan on the announcement of the Southern Sudan referendum results. We congratulate northern and southern leaders for facilitating a peaceful and orderly vote, and now that the people of Southern Sudan have made this compelling statement, we commend the Government of Sudan for accepting its outcome.

Press Statement, Feb. 7, 2011, available at (internet link)

The United States also joined the other witnesses to the CPA (African Union, Republic of Egypt, European Union, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, Republic of Kenya, Government of Italy, League of Arab States, Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands, Royal Norwegian Government, Republic of Uganda, United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, United Nations) in the following joint statement on the referendum’s outcome (the statement is available at (internet link)


We, the countries and organizations that witnessed the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, welcome the conclusion of the Southern Sudan referendum and the announcement of the final result by the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission on February 7, 2011. We congratulate the parties to the CPA and the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission on a successful referendum process, and we welcome the acceptance of the result by the Government of Sudan. We have noted the positive statements by international and domestic observers which confirm that the referendum was credible, peaceful, and met international standards. We have also taken note of the statement by the United Nations Secretary General’s High Level Monitoring Panel on January 16 that the process allowed the people of Southern Sudan to express their will freely. In view of these assessments, we confirm the U.S. acceptance of the result of the referendum in favor of the secession of Southern Sudan.

We commend both CPA parties for the leadership they have demonstrated. We call on them to redouble their efforts to reach agreement on the outstanding CPA and post-referendum issues, with the facilitation of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel. The status of Abyei must be resolved in a way that respects the rights and interests of affected populations. Popular consultations in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states should also be conducted in a timely and inclusive manner. The demarcation of the common border and the status of disputed areas should be settled. Finally, we urge the parties to continue to work together in the remaining months of the CPA to put in place arrangements on security, citizenship, international treaties, economics, a soft border and natural resources which provide the basis for two stable, secure, and economically prosperous states living in peace with one another and their neighbors.

We emphasize the U.S. commitment to the establishment of long term peace, security and prosperity for all of the peoples of Sudan. As witnesses to the CPA, we recognize the critical importance of continued close cooperation between Northern and Southern Sudan and we underline the U.S. willingness to continue to provide international support to this end.

On March 9, 2011, the White House issued a statement condemning violence in the Abyei region of Sudan and urging the parties to resolve issues relating to Abyei. The White House Statement, reprinted below, is available at (internet link)


The United States deplores the recent violence in the Abyei region of Sudan and calls on Northern and Southern Sudanese leaders to take immediate steps to prevent future attacks and restore calm. This dangerous standoff is unacceptable for the Sudanese people, and we condemn the deployment of forces by both sides. Their presence in Abyei stands in violation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement and runs counter to efforts to reach agreement on the region’s final status This past September, President Obama spoke of the two paths before the Government of Sudan: a path of peace, a path of fulfilled commitments, and greater engagement; and a path of continued conflict, continued obstruction, and greater, more painful isolation. The successful referendum was but one step toward fulfilling the Government of Sudan’s obligations under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The Government of South Sudan too must recommit itself to resolving the remaining contentious issues in dispute.

The United States welcomes the commitment made by the National Congress Party and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement to establish a committee based in Abyei to review security arrangements relating to the annual migration. We urge this committee to immediately establish a presence in Abyei and to complete its security assessment and recommendations as quickly as possible. Both North and South must also provide the United Nations Mission in Sudan the full and unfettered access required to fulfill its mandate, which includes assessing the security and humanitarian situation where fighting has taken place and protecting civilians.

We call on Presidents Bashir and Kiir to meet as soon as possible and demonstrate that they are serious about making urgent progress in talks to resolve Abyei’s final status in a manner that addresses the needs of all communities and upholds the Abyei Protocol and the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

More about the Issue

On May 10, 2011, the Sudan Troika (the United States, United Kingdom, and Norway) issued a joint statement on recent developments in Sudan following a visit by Troika representatives to the region earlier in May. The statement appears below and is available at (internet link)

As we enter the final two months of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement’s Interim Period, we call on the CPA parties to intensify their negotiations to finalize arrangements that will provide the basis for two stable, secure, and viable states living in peace with one another and their neighbors. We applaud the progress the parties have made thus far with the facilitation of the Africa Union High-Level Implementation Panel, but note that much work remains to be done. We call on the parties to approach the next two months with a renewed sense of urgency to resolve key outstanding issues, especially the future status of Abyei, before the end of the CPA.

We are especially concerned about the alarming situation in Abyei. Recent actions by both CPA parties run counter to President Bashir and President Kiir’s agreement to resolve the situation peacefully through negotiation and the assistance of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel. The introduction by both sides of armed forces into Abyei has caused violence, including the death of 11 Northern JIU members, and more suffering for the local population. The parties should desist from these actions which represent a clear violation of the CPA. Moreover, at this critical stage we call on the leaders of the North and the South to refrain from inflammatory language and other acts that provoke the other side. We welcome agreement reached May 5 t
o immediately implement the Kadugli Agreements and withdraw illegal troops from Abyei. We also welcome the May 8 and 9 joint technical committee meetings held in Kadugli and Abyei, and urge the parties to ensure that the committee expeditiously fulfills its mandate to remove all illegal troops from Abyei. We urge both sides to avoid further escalation that could endanger the peaceful atmosphere of the CPA and ultimately make resolution of the Abyei issue more difficult. We reaffirm the U.S. commitment to support a peaceful negotiated final solution to the status of Abyei that builds on the CPA and is consistent with the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

We welcome the peaceful completion of polling for Southern Kordofan’s elections, but are concerned about rising tensions in the state due to a delay in the announcement of preliminary results. We call on local and national leaders to take immediate steps to improve the security situation and exercise control over all armed security elements. We also call on the parties to work together to maintain calm as the preliminary results are announced and to refrain from prematurely declaring electoral victories. The parties should work together to resolve any election disputes peacefully through the courts. In order to maintain stability and promote long-term cooperation, they should build an inclusive government no matter the outcome. It is critical that the elections pave the way for the start of Southern Kordofan’s popular consultations, which remain an important outstanding element of the CPA.

We have been encouraged by the recent renewal of face-to-face negotiations between the Government of Sudan (GOS) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in Doha. However, these talks have once again broken down due to inflexibility on each side. We urge GOS and JEM to re-launch these negotiations as soon as possible. The GOS, JEM, and Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) must all seize upon this moment to bring lasting peace to Darfur by working to achieve an inclusive political agreement and a ceasefire. To do so, they must deal with the core pending issues in an expedited manner. We believe all Darfuri armed movements that remain outside of the Doha process should come to Doha, and welcome the invitations sent by the AU/UN Joint Mediation and Government of Qatar to several groups, notably the Sudan Liberation Army factions of Abdel Wahid Al Nur and Minni Minawi. We strongly encourage these leaders to associate themselves and their movements with these talks.

Sudan in 2011

United States views on international law (based on the document “Digest of U.S. Practice in International Law”): On June 20, 2011 the parties to the CPA in Sudan signed an agreement regarding Abyei after negotiations assisted by the African Union High-level Implementation Panel. Ambassador Rice welcomed the agreement and urged implementation of all the parties’ obligations in a statement at the Security Council on June 20, 2011, excerpted below. The full text of Ambassador Rice’s statement is available at (internet link)

…[W]e welcome the news that the parties have just signed an agreement on temporary administrative and security arrangements for Abyei and the withdrawal of Sudanese Armed Forces.…

This Council will closely monitor adherence with its statements and the progress towards rapidly ensuring that the terms of the Addis Agreement are swiftly fulfilled.

We want to underscore the urgency of Ethiopian troops deploying immediately to Abyei as the agreed interim security force, under United Nations auspices and on the timeline agreed to by the parties.…

The United States will soon circulate a draft Security Council Resolution for Council consideration to authorize creation of this proposed Interim Security Force for Abyei.

Unfortunately, the situation in Abyei is by no means the only crisis facing the people of Sudan.…

On June 5, violence broke out in multiple areas of Southern Kordofan, including its capital, Kadugli. The reports my government has been receiving of the ongoing fighting are horrifying—both because of the scope of human rights abuses and because of the ethnic dimensions to the conflict. The Sudanese Armed Forces have shelled and bombed the areas around Kadugli. Ongoing and intense aerial bombardments threaten the lives of civilians and United Nations personnel; a bomb fell just 100 meters from the UNMIS compound in Kauda. The Sudanese Armed Forces have threatened to shoot down UNMIS air patrols.

They have taken control of the airport in Kadugli and refuse landing rights to UNMIS flights, which has continued for so long that United Nations staff located in the compound and United Nations teamsites are running dangerously low on food and supplies. UNMIS’s lack of access is alarming and indefensible. UNMIS and humanitarian aid workers must be granted full access, most especially when so many are in need of food, water, and humanitarian aid.

More about Sudan

According to the United Nations, more than 360,000 people have been displaced in Sudan over the past 6 months, and more than half were displaced in the past month. As many as 75,000 people have fled the fighting in Southern Kordofan.

International NGOs operating there are evacuating their staff, and a humanitarian crisis of enormous proportions is unfolding. Up to 10,000 people have sought refuge at the UNMIS compound in Kadugli. The United States calls on both parties to facilitate access for UNMIS and humanitarian aid workers.

We are also concerned that the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army has deployed north of the 01/01/56 border into Southern Kordofan in violation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

…[W]e have also received reports that forces aligned with the Government of Sudan searched for Southern forces and sympathizers, whom they arrested and allegedly executed. We have received further allegations, not yet corroborated, but so alarming that I must mention them, that the Sudanese Armed Forces are arming elements of the local population and placing mines in areas of Kadugli. The United States condemns all acts of violence, especially those that target individuals based on their ethnicity or political affiliation. Security services and military forces have reportedly detained and summarily executed local authorities, political rivals, medical personnel, and others. These acts could constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity.

We demand that the perpetrators immediately halt these actions and be held accountable for their crimes. We call on the United Nations to fully investigate these incidents, and request a report from the Secretary General to the Council by the end of June that details any human rights abuses that were committed during recent hostilities in Abyei and Southern Kordofan. We are deeply concerned by reports that members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army have threatened the safety of persons of Arab origin in Southern Kordofan, including United Nations staff, and we insist that the Sudan People’s Liberation Army leadership condemn these actions and refrain from any reprisals.

[T]he Government of Sudan can prevent this crisis from escalating further by immediately stopping its military efforts to disarm the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Southern Kordofan and by focusing on diplomatic efforts to peacefully resolve the conflict. The Sudanese government should also cease trying to dissolve the Joint/Integrated Units in Southern Kordofan, which were established under the CPA. Security arrangements for Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States should be agreed upon through direct, high-level negotiations—and not dictated by the use of force.

We call for the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North to agree immediately on a cessation of hostilities and to immediately end restrictions on humanitarian access
and United Nations movements.

It’s essential that violence against civilians and humanitarian abuses stop and stop now. The United States calls upon both parties to end the conflict and resolve the underlying issues in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile as they are now beginning to do in Abyei.

Finally, we want to underscore the imperative of timely and candid assessments for the Council about the evolving situation, for which we crucially depend on the Secretariat. This is essential for us to be able to determine and take actions necessary to ensure that the United Nations can carry out its mission. Contingents unwilling to carry out their mandate to protect civilians should not be part of this crucial mission. Contingents under attack also need the U.S. backup and support. With the failure of their government to live up to its responsibilities, the Sudanese people have turned to the international community for protection, and we have an obligation to provide it.


Shortly after the parties reached their June 20 agreement, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1990 on June 27, 2011, authorizing the deployment of peacekeepers to the Abyei region of Sudan as the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (“UNISFA”). U.N. Doc. S/RES/1990. In a press statement issued that day, Secretary Clinton welcomed the resolution. Secretary Clinton’s statement appears below and is also available at (internet link)

The United States commends the swift passage of United Nations Security Council resolution 1990, which approves the mandate requested by Sudanese leaders to facilitate the deployment of up to 4200 Ethiopian peacekeepers to the Abyei region of Sudan.

Abyei has been a source of regional tension for many years, as the world witnessed last month when Sudanese Armed Forces forcibly took control of the region, resulting in widespread displacement and looting.

The approval of this force is a critical step in implementing the June 20 agreement signed by the parties, whereby the Sudanese Armed Forces will withdraw from the Abyei area along with any Sudan People’s Liberation Army forces there. An Ethiopian brigade will deploy as the United Nations Interim Security Force to enforce this withdrawal and maintain security throughout the Abyei region.

We urge the Sudanese Government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement to make good on their commitments to withdraw forces from Abyei and use the talks facilitated by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel to reach mutual agreement on the future status of Abyei.

While the United States welcomes this Security Council resolution regarding Abyei, we remain deeply concerned about the on-going crisis in Southern Kordofan. Tens of thousands of people have been driven from their homes, and there are reports of very serious human rights abuses and violence targeting individuals based on their ethnicity and political affiliation. Also of concern is the troubling detention of Sudanese local staff members of the United Nations Mission in Sudan by Sudanese authorities last week as they were being evacuated from the airport in Kadugli. While two staff members have been released, five remain in the custody of Sudanese military officials. We call on the Sudanese Government to release them immediately and cease any harassment and intimidation of United Nations personnel in Southern Kordofan. We urge the parties to reach an immediate ceasefire and to provide aid workers with the unfettered access required to deliver humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians affected by the conflict.

On July 11, 2011, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1997, withdrawing UNMIS forces from Sudan. U.N. Doc. S/RES/1997. Ambassador Rice explained the United States’ reluctance to accede to the Government of Sudan’s request to cease UNMIS activities and urged the parties to continue to negotiate for peace in Sudan. Her remarks, provided as an explanation of the U.S. vote on Resolution 1977, are set forth below and available at (internet link)


The United States deeply regrets the necessity to vote on this resolution to end the UNMIS mandate. We call on the Government of Sudan yet again to reconsider its demand that UNMIS cease its activities in the Republic of Sudan effective July 9. The mission has a critical role to continue to play in regional stability, especially in the Two Areas.

The United States is sending a clear message along with other Council members that it wants the United Nations to remain in the Two Areas, especially at this critical juncture. With this resolution, the Council has made clear that it is ready to authorize continued United Nations operations in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile to support new security arrangements, and we will continue over the coming weeks to urge the Government of Sudan to accept this. It is in their interest to do so. We hope others in the international community will continue to encourage Khartoum to accept this.

It is critical that the Government of Sudan cooperate fully with UNMIS as it begins the process of withdrawing.

We continue to be deeply concerned about the fighting in Southern Kordofan, the displacement of civilians, and the ensuing humanitarian crisis. The Government of Sudan and SPLM-North must return to the negotiating table in the coming days and agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities. We call on the Government of Sudan as well to work actively on agreements to bring peace and stability to the border, and in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states.…

On December 6, 2011, the Sudan Troika issued another joint statement, commending the parties on recent successful negotiations on petroleum sector and financial issues and urging them to reach agreement on other post-CPA issues. The joint statement appears below and is available at (internet link)

More about the Issue

We welcome the discussions held on transitional financial arrangements and commercial oil fees between the Government of Sudan (GoS) and Government of South Sudan (GoSS) that were facilitated by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) in Addis Ababa on 25-30 November.

We believe these significant negotiations were advanced through the presentation of new proposals that warranted careful consideration by both sides. We note in particular a detailed proposal by the GoSS that put forth a financial contribution to help the GoS reduce its financial gap after South Sudan’s secession. In light of recent developments, we strongly urge the Parties to reconvene as soon as possible, ahead of the agreed December 20 date, to agree on arrangements for the export of oil. We urge both states to finalize as soon as possible a sustainable agreement that encompasses all outstanding petroleum sector and financial issues.

Sudan and South Sudan in 2011

United States views on international law (based on the document “Digest of U.S. Practice in International Law”): In January 2011, UNHCR reported that LRA violence displaced some 600,000 additional people in the previous 18 months and has brought ”a radical shift in patterns of violence [that] points to a clear targeting of women and children.” LRA attacks in the western part of South Sudan were reported on a monthly basis throughout 2010. In most cases, these attacks were on vulnerable, isolated communities, with indiscriminate killing, abduction, rape, mutilation, looting, and destruction of property.

More about Sudan and South Sudan

In addition to the recent violence in Abyei and South Kordofan, there have been other indications that the peace treaty remains fragile. In January and February 2011, factions of the SAF stationed in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State engaged in violent clashes. Reports indicated that the soldiers were fighting over weapons and whether they will relocate to the North as o
rdered after the results of the referendum favored independence. By extension, the failure to demobilize the 180,000 soldiers from both Sudan and South Sudan as required by the CPA is of further concern.


…According to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), mass population displacement caused by conflict in South Sudan since early 2011 caused the loss of lean season food stocks. As a result, most of the displaced are now in crisis and are relying on food assistance. USAID projects that ongoing conflict will likely impact crop cultivation and harvests and that the situation could worsen significantly because of the compounding impacts of insecurity, displacement, high food prices, and returnees from Sudan who increase competition for scarce resources.


Insecurity due to ongoing fighting, and the targeting of civilians for serious human rights abuses, has led to continued displacement of the South Sudanese population. Displacement and factors related to food insecurity—including drought, flooding, and rising food prices—are at the root of the ongoing humanitarian crisis. South Sudan is already considered one of the poorest, least-developed places in the world. The mass influx of South Sudanese returning from Sudan continues to strain limited resources, and high levels of humanitarian needs are reported in areas that have a high concentration of returnees.


In relation to the international law practice and Sudan in this world legal Encyclopedia, please see the following section:

Diplomatic Relations, Succession, Continuity of States, Statehood Issues

About this subject:

Executive Branch Authority Over Foreign State Recognition and Passport Issuance


In relation to the international law practice and Sudan in this world legal Encyclopedia, please see the following section:

Sanctions, Export Controls, International Restrictions

About this subject:

Imposition, Implementation, and Modification of Sanctions and Certain Other Restrictions

Under this topic, in the Encyclopedia, find out information on Armed Conflict: Restoration of Peace and Security. Note: there is detailed information and resources, in relation with these topics during the year 2011, covered by the entry, in this law Encyclopedia, about Sudan

Sudan and South Sudan

In relation to the international law practice and Sudan and South Sudan in this world legal Encyclopedia, please see the following section:

International Conflict Resolution, International Conflict Avoidance

About this subject:

Peacekeeping and Related Issues

. Note: there is detailed information and resources, in relation with these topics during the year 2011, covered by the entry, in this law Encyclopedia, about Sudan


See Also

  • Nationality
  • Citizenship
  • Immigration
  • Asylum
  • Refugee Status
  • Sudan
  • South Sudan


See Also

  • International Conflict Resolution
  • International Conflict Avoidance
  • Peacekeeping
  • Sudan


See Also

  • International Organization
  • Foreign Relations
  • Intergovernmental Organization
  • Regional Organization
  • Regional Integration


See Also

  • Legal Biography
  • Legal Traditions
  • Historical Laws
  • History of Law

Further Reading

Countries or entities currently subject to sanctions by the United States: Sudan

Hierarchical Display of Sudan

Geography > Economic geography > ACP countries


Concept of Sudan

See the dictionary definition of Sudan.

Characteristics of Sudan

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Translation of Sudan

Thesaurus of Sudan

Geography > Economic geography > ACP countries > Sudan

See also

  • Republic of Iraq
  • Republic of Sudan