Sudan Appoints Its First Woman Chief Justice

Sudan uprising poster

Khartoum — Respected veteran Sudanese Supreme Court Judge Nemat Abdallah Khair has been confirmed and gazetted as Sudan's new Chief Justice. She is the first woman to hold the position and follows only a handful of other women in Africa to head judiciaries.

The official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) announced the confirmation of Khair's appointment in accordance with a decree today by the Transitional Sovereign Council.The decree also names Taj El Hibir as Attorney General.

TSC spokesman Mohamed EL Faki Suleiman explained that the decision appointing the Chief Justice and Attorney General was based on the Constitutional Declaration after it had been tabled at the Ministry of Justice and published in the official Sudan Government Gazette.

Suleiman said he said the new Chief Justice and Attorney General will embark on forming councils according to certain criteria and choosing a Judiciary Council with a specific timeframe.

Khair became a member of the Sudanese judiciary in the early 1980s. She worked in the Court of Appeal, the Court of First Instance, and rose to become a judge of the Supreme Court known for her competence, integrity and experience.

Khair is a founder of the Sudanese Judges Club and participated in the Sudanese protests and marches for the overthrow of the Al Bashir regime. She becomes the first woman Chief Justice of Sudan and one of only a handful of women to hold the title in Africa (following Kaïta Kayentao Diallo (Mali, 2006), Umu Hawa Tejan-Jalloh (Sierra Leone, 2008), Mathilda Twomey (Seychelles, 2011), Nthomeng Majara (Lesotho, 2014), Irene Mambilima (Zambia, 2015), Sophia Akuffo (Ghana, 2017), and Meaza Ashenafi (Ethiopia, 2018).

Khair was put forward as the head of the Sudanese judiciary after being selected by consensus between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC). Under Article 29.(3) of the August 2019 Draft Constitutional Declaration, she is also the president of the Supreme Court and is responsible for administering the judicial authority before the Supreme Judicial Council.

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