Sudan: Chief Justice and Attorney General Named, Woman to Lead the Judiciary

12 October 2019

At last and after a long delay, concerned authorities have named the country's new Chief Justice and Attorney General.

The Sovereign Council (the presidency) over the weekend accredited and announced the appointment of Madam Ne'imat Mohammad Khair as Chief Justice and Taj Alsir Ali Alhibir as Attorney General of Sudan.

By this announcement Madam Neimat becomes the first woman to assume the office of Chief Justice in Sudan's history.

Both Chief Justice and Attorney General will hold portfolios congested with thorny issues and intricate problems, foremost doing justice to many lives lost in the struggle of Sudanese against the dictatorial rule of ousted President Omar Albashir and his military and civilian cronies.

A sample of cases awaiting the newcomers to the judiciary is the trials of the perpetrators of the 30 June, 1989 coup that turned the country from full democracy to autocratic rule. Heaps of corruption and financial mismanagement cases also need to be handled.

Further, insiders complain that the defunct regime had stuffed the judiciary with lots of unqualified cadres that need to be purged. In some cases persons with no certificates in law were reportedly appointed as judges.

Announcing the appointment on the official media, Sovereign Council Member and Spokesman Mohammad Alfaki Suleiman said the appointments' decisions were in keeping with the Constitutional Document and were both published in the county's official gazette.

Suleiman said the Chief Justice and Attorney General will first appoint the High Judiciary Council and then restructure the other legal echelons and will then embark on their duties according to a specified timetable and that includes the handling of "cases of corruption and other crimes."

Who Is Chief Justice Ne'imat?

Justice Ne'imat Abdalla Mohammad Khair hails from the town of Alkamleen of the Gezira State and had joined the judiciary in the early 1980s, beginning with primary courts, then the court of appeal and then became high court judge.

Justice Ne'imat was never known to have any partisan leanings. She is also credited for initiating (with others) the Sudanese Judges Club as a body independent from government influence.

She has an established fame of professionalism, decency and fairness, according to persons who dealt with her in legal cases.

Justice Ne'imat's name had emerged as an opponent of the defunct regime of Bashir in recent years. She reportedly took part in the popular protests that eventually saw the downfall of Bashir's rule.

In this she was part of the judges' opposition procession last April. She also took part in other protests and sit-ins. She was continuously present in the Army General Command sit-in that forced the military to step in and remove Bashir from power.

She is also credited for ruling against the government wish in a famous dispute with the Anglican church in 2016.

Some of her peers complain that she is just a professional academic barrister and fear such qualities might hinder her from taking serious legal decisions to purge the judiciary.

Lawyer and outstanding figure in the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) that led the protests against Bashir , Mr. Muez Hadra, said Justice Neimat is "honest and earnest", confirming that she had no relation with the defunct regime, whatsoever.

Who Is The New Attorney General, Alhibir?

The new Attorney General Taj Alsir Alhibir was born in 1948 in the Khilaila Village, North of Khartoum. He is married and has one daughter who is a doctor.

Attorney General Alhibir hails from a religious family in Khilaila Village that runs several Koran seminaries in the area.

He had graduated with honors from the Faculty of Law, University of Khartoum, and joined the Attorney General's Office. He then served in the General Attorney Council and also the Laws Committee. Then he served as a lawyer in the office of Lawyer Abdelhaleem Altahir and the office of Lawyer Fawzi Altoam until when he launched his own office.

Lawyer and Writer Kamal Aljizouli said Attorney Alhibir has no political leanings "other than towards the broad democratic current."

Jizouli also said Alhibir had enjoyed "wide acquaintances"

He added that Alhibir was a member of the Lawyers' Trade Union during the April 1985 uprising that removed former dictator Nimeri from power. "Those members of the Lawyers Trade Union were in great jeopardy at that time. This is an indication of Alhibir's resolve and his readiness to fight for what is right, though he had no partisan affiliations of any sort," maintained Jizouli.

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