Wed, 23 Oct 2019

Sudan's Ruling Council Appoints 1st Woman Chief Justice in Africa

Voice of America
11 Oct 2019, 05:35 GMT+10

KHARTOUM - Sudan's ruling council has appointed the country's first woman chief justice. The appointment is seen as another step forward for female representation in the new transitional government.

The Sovereign Council has officially confirmed the pick of Neemat Abdullah as chief justice of the country's judiciary, a first in Sudan and the entire Arab world.

Many in Sudan see the appointment as a major step forward for Sudanese women.

Researcher and politican Nahid Jabrallah, the founder of the Sima center for children, said the appointment of Judge Neemat Abdullah is a victory for Sudanese women and very symbolic of Sudanese women's participation in the 30-year fight [against Bashir]. It also shows a commitment to women and women's issues.

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Abdullah was initially appointed chief justice soon after military leaders and the opposition signed a power-sharing agreement in August. She was quickly replaced, only to be re-appointed after huge street protests.

The demonstrators demanded an unbiased judiciary, which they think Abdullah can provide based on her background.

She has been a judge in the High Court for years, and has never been a part of a political party, unlike most judges at her level, the majority of whom were loyalists to ousted president Omar al-Bashir.

At the recent U.N. General Assembly, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Amok praised women's role in the protests that toppled Bashir and ensured there would be civilian representation in the transitional government.

Four women have been appointed to cabinet positions in the new government, including the country's first female minister of foreign affairs, Asma Mohamed Abdalla.

Former president Bashir is now on trial for money corruption charges, but many Sudanese believe there will be no real punishment for him or his allies unless Sudan's judiciary is completely restructured.

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