Capacity Building of the Sudan Judiciary

Fast Facts:
• Project Document
Location: Khartoum, Kassala ( Wad El-Hilew), S. Kordofan (Talodi), Blue Nile (Rosseris), Alddamar
Duration: August 2006 - Dec 2011
Focus area: Democratic Governance
Contributions(USD): WB: 5,000,000
Partners: National Judiciary
Delivery(USD): 2010: 793,180
2008: 1,467,449
2007: 1,267,651
Contact person in UNDP: Kevin Maguirei, Chief Technical Advisor

The Sudan Judiciary is composed of separate hierarchies for civil matters and shari’a (Islamic Law) matters. The lowest level courts are Town Benches and District Courts. Their decisions may be appealed at the Province Courts, which have jurisdiction over cases concerning companies, trademarks, business names, bankruptcy, and the personal status of non-Muslims. There are Courts of Appeal in each provincial capital, and the Supreme Court or Court of Cassation serves as the final court of appeal.

The Constitutional Court was established in 1998 to determine the constitutionality of laws, hear cases of individual citizens’ rights guaranteed by the constitution, and rule between different courts on matters of jurisdiction.

With the signing and implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), and the adoption of the Interim National Constitution (INC), Sudan entered an important transitional phase in which the National Judicial Service Commission (NJSC), a new body, is mandated to undertake the overall management of the national judicial system. This also includes the coordination of the relationships between judiciaries at the National, Southern Sudan and State level, as well as the approval, appointment and dismissal of judges.

Headed by the Chief Justice of Sudan, the NJSC replaces the current High Judicial Council as a new entity responsible for the selection, appointment, promotion, discipline and dismissal of judges and justices. In view of the ongoing legal and judicial reforms, it is hoped that the Judiciary will be instrumental in translating the principles and promises of the peace agreement and the INC into tangible realities in post-conflict Sudan.

In order to help implement the CPA, and effectuate the mandate of the INC - including the establishment of the NJSC, significant work needed be done to strengthen the Judiciary’s legal, technical, and operational capacity. Consequently, in August 2006, the Ministry of Finance, the World Bank, and UNDP launched the Capacity Building of the Sudan Judiciary project. This US$18 million project is a large programme designed to improve the capacity of an independent Judiciary in Sudan.

The project’s main objective is to strengthen the capacity of the Judiciary to: enhance its independence; build the knowledge-base of judges; and empower the judiciary to effectively and fairly apply the law and deliver justice.

To this end, the specific objectives of the project are:
• Build the capacity of the NJSC to deliver services in the Governance and Rule of Law Sector based on judicial independence, impartiality, transparency, and international standards.
• Build the capacity of the Judiciary (at the central and state levels) to implement and integrate commitments to the rule of law, under the CPA, through comprehensive judicial training and by creating a pool of qualified national trainers and appropriate training curriculum.
• Ensure the sustainability of the transfer of knowledge through the establishment of a National Legal Training and Resource Centre and the rehabilitation of the Judiciary’s existing training facility.
• Improve the delivery of judicial services by rehabilitating selected court facilities.

Snapshots of the project's major achievements

• In support to the National Judicial Service Commission (NJSC) 5 study tours were conducted to Germany, South Africa, India, Malaysia and Canada; various jurisdictions and lessons were drawn as to the operation of court systems in those jurisdictions. Each study tour involved the participation of one Deputy Chief Justice and two other senior judges; in addition the Sudan Chief Justice participated in a study tour to Malaysia.
• Support to the NJSC included also rehabilitation of 13 judicial offices and the conference hall of the NJSC. In addition, furniture, installation of simultaneous translation equipment and video conference equipment were provided to the NJC. The videoconference equipment will provide service to eight points in northern Sudan from a centralized location in Khartoum.
• The project also supported the establishment of the NJSC Advisory Committee, which approved a “start-up strategy”. Abstracts on Best Practices have been completed and submitted for approval by the Judiciary authorities.
• Eighteen judges have been trained in “English Legal Terminology”, “Internet Assisted Legal Research”, and “Effective Teaching Methodology”, in a six-week intensive course at Bournemouth Business School International in the UK.
• Fifty judges, including 13 female judges, went through a six-week training course on Legal Analysis in Sudan. Out of these, 15 were identified to go through a training of trainers (TOT) course.
• Training of 60 judges, including judges from the State Judiciary) in several areas of law has been initiated in Khartoum with senior judges and law professors. The training sessions covered a wide range of legal topics such as criminal law, civil law, and commercial law and Sharia law. Judiciary authorities at the highest level have been actively engaged and committed to this training. The first round of training, took place during the period from 15 February 2009 to 11 March 2009, targeted judges from public court and First Grade court from several Northern States. The second session, from 5 to 30 April 2009, targeted Second and Third Grade court judges, while the final round of training, took place 1st week of June 2009, and targeted Appellate court judges.
• A group of 5 female and 5 male judges, including judges from the State Judiciary, participated in training in Malaysia in April 2009. The judges received training in a range of topics, included: English for legal practice, international law, and child and women protection. The training was carried out by the Harun M. Hashim Law Centre in Kuala Lumpur. Two more groups of 10 judges (each group comprised from 5 females and 5 males judges including judges from the State Judiciary) received training at the Harun M. Hashim Law Center in Malaysia in May 2009 and June 2009.
• Law reports/journals 1900 to 2007 have been printed and distributed to courts in all States. Copies have also been provided for university law schools and law professors. The cost of this was shared between the Judiciary and the project with the judiciary paying two thirds of the cost.
• In addition to the training activities, the project provided the Training Department of the Sudan Judiciary with IT equipment to deliver training,
• Construction of the Talodi(S.Kordofan) courthouse concluded on May 1, 2008. Construction of the judge and the court supervisor houses concluded on May 31, 2008.
• Construction of AlRousseris (Blue Nile) courthouse completed in August 2008
• Construction of Wad ElHelew (Kassala) courthouse concluded on May 31, 2008.
• Rehabilitation of Aldamar courthouse and land registration office completed first week of May.
• With respect to El Azhari Court in Khartoum State, the concrete skeleton work was completed on March 2009, and the Judiciary undertook the work to finalize the construction. Furniture and equipment for the courthouses built/rehabilitated under the project have also been provided.
Copyright (c) United Nations Development Programme Sudan, 2011. All rights reserved
Copyrights and terms of use

Contributes to MDG 8