20 Sep 2021

Introduction to the Laws of New Sudan



To understand the law thoroughly and to appreciate them in the light of their development, one needs to trace them back to their roots, sources and origins. The laws of the New Sudan invite such an undertaking, as they are intimately linked to the needs and aspirations of men and women in the South Sudanese society. As society changes, we expect the laws to change as well.

Normally, laws are a reflectiion of a country’s constitution, but as the New Sudan has no constitution yet, its laws had to be built on resolutions taken at the occasion of the SPLM Convention of 1994 which later become the charter of the movement.

When on 16 May 1983, the second civil war erupted in the Sudan and the people of South Sudan took up arms against the national government in Khartoum, the leadership of the SPLM/A initiated the Punitive Law to regulate and govern the conduct of the armed forces.

In 1984, a committee headed by the late Major Gai and Joseph Oduho drafted the Penal and Discipline Law of the SPLA; signed by the Chairman - these laws remained in force until 1994.

Ten years later, the laws were repealed through the 1994 SPLA Act; however, the SPLM/A leadership later on reinstated the 1984 laws except for their civilian provisions, applying now only to the military.

In 2003, the 1984 Laws were repealed for another time and replaced by the 2003 SPLA Act. It should be mentioned that in 1995 not less than 23 committees had been set up by the leadership of the SPLM, amongst them a committee headed by Ayuen Alier, which was to concentrate on basic law, such as the Penal Code and Criminal and Civil Procedures. Eventually, there were 16 laws recommended by the convention to be drafted but after proof-reading, only 4 laws were published (with a lot of typographical errors).

In 2002, a law review committee was formed by the Chairman of the SPLM/A. It was headed by the Commissioner for Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development, Michael Makuei and its members comprised of Army, Police, Prison and Wildlife commissions that reviewed 16 laws and drafted 7 new laws, bringing the total number of laws to 23.

In order to allow more public discussion on the proposals made by the law review committee and to make amendments or changes of the laws possible, a 4-week long workshop in Rumbek was organized. However, many of the participants (and in particular, women) at the workshop were not happy about the way the discussions were being conducted. An issue was that the SPLM Chairman had turned them into provisional orders which was signed by the SPLM Chairman on June 26, 2003. These laws or ''provisional orders'' are still subject to endorsement by the National Liberation Council (NLC).

The Laws of the New Sudan to date

The following list shows the laws signed by the Chairman:

  1. Broadcasting Corporation Act, 2013
  2. Media Authority Act, 2013
  3. Right to Access Information Act, 2013
  4. Police Act
  5. The Forestry Commission Act
  6. The Traffic Act
  7. The Nationality Act
  8. The Central Bank Act
  9. Advocacy Act
  10. Wildlife Conservation Act
  11. Wildlife Forces Act
  12. The Insurance Act
  13. The Judiciary Act
  14. The High Judicial Council Act
  15. The SPLA Act
  16. Civil Procedure Act
  17. Public Corperation Act
  18. The Code of Criminal Procedure Act
  19. The Financial Institution Act
  20. The Evidence Act
  21. The Companies Act
  22. Cooperative Societies Act
  23. Non-Governmental Organization Act
  24. The Penal Code Act
  25. The Prison Act
  26. Interpretation of Laws and General Provisions Act
  27. Timber Utilization and Management Act
  28. Passport and Immigration Act
  29. The Investment Act
  30. The Telecommunication Corporation Act
  31. The Attorney General Chambers Act
  32. The Crops Training Centre Act
  33. The Agricultural Technology Training Centre Act
  34. The Agricultural Training Centre Act
  35. Ideas Act
  36. The Police General Regulation Act

 Compiled by Dong Samuel Luak - Secretary General of South Sudan Law Society (SSLS)

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