• Gregory Turner

July 13 -July 17 News

On Monday, Sudan abolished strict Islamic legislation punishing apostasy by death and allowing public floggings[1]. Also, non-Muslims, constituting roughly 3% of the population, will be permitted to drink, import, and sell alcohol[2]. The Chairman of Sudan's Sovereign Council, Lt. Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, also signed new laws and amendments, including; a 2020 bill regarding reforms of the legal and justice system[3]. The Fundamental Rights of Freedoms of Act of 2020 was also signed. This Act abolishes and amends articles degrading the dignity of women, female genital mutilation, and the need for official permission from a male relative for women to travel outside Sudan with their children. Amendments to the Sudan Penal Code and Anti-Cyber Crime Act reduce penalties for violations. However, there is concern over the lack of participation by civil society groups in these actions. In a clarification released later, Justice Minster Nasreldin Abdelbari indicated that the amendments aim to align with the 2019 Constitutional Declaration[4]. Mr. Abdelbari also said that he presented the Sudanese government with options on dealing with the former leaders of the al-Bashir regime, including the possibility of transferring them to the International Criminal Court (ICC)[5]. Mr. Abdelbari also announced that the negotiations with the United States about Sudan's responsibility in the Al Qaeda attack on the USS Cole would be finished soon and allow for settlement and removal from the list of state-sponsors of terrorism[6].

Nine people died, and seventeen others were wounded in a violent militia break-up of the Fata Borno camp sit-in in North Darfur. This camp contains many of those displaced in Kutum. The attack began at 3:00, local time[7]. Militiaman plundered and torched the camp market of Fata Borno.[8] They also attacked many homes and set two vehicles alight[9]. The militiamen made off with stolen goods, large numbers of livestock, and three vehicles[10]. The North Darfur government claims that police attempted to counter the attack. However, sit-in participants dispute this statement's accuracy and claim that the government is placing the blame on them[11]. UNAMID forces halted on the opposite side of the valley. In a memorandum, released by the sit-in participants demand an immediate investigation into the events. Major General Malik El Tayeb, the governor of North Darfur, declared a state of emergency and pledged to send more troops and pursue the suspects[12].

The parties postponed the signing of Sudan's peace agreement. According to Dhieu Mathok, the head of the South Sudanese mediation team, the deal is due to be signed "in the coming days in Juba, after an accord on security arrangements has been reached"[13]. Members of the government security delegation and the mediation team are in Juba to negotiate further security arrangements. This delay comes after the violent break- up of the Fata Borno sit-in.[14] Furthermore, there are demands by the Sudanese women to include women in the nominations of civilian governors.

Sources [1] Sudan abolishes strict Islamic legislation, Radio Dabanga (July 13, 2020), https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/sudan-moves-forward-on-legal-amendments [2]ld. [3]Id. [4]Sudan Justice Minister clarifies repeal of strict laws, Radio Dabanga (July 13, 2020) https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/sudan-justice-minister-clarifies-repeal-of-islamic-laws [5]Id. [6]Id. [7] Nine dead, dozens injured as militia break up North Darfur sit-in, Radio Dabanga (July 14, 2020) https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/nine-dead-dozens-injured-as-militia-break-up-north-darfur-sit-in [8]Id. [9]Id. [10]Id. [11]Id. [12]Id. [13] Dhieu Mathok, Head of South Sudanese mediation team, quoted in Signing of Sudan peace agreement postponed, Radio Dabanga (July 15, 2020) https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/signing-of-sudan-peace-agreement-postponed [14] Id.

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