Academic journal article Chicago Journal of International Law

A Condominium Approach to Abyei

Academic journal article Chicago Journal of International Law

A Condominium Approach to Abyei

Article excerpt

Abstract

Despite the recent independence of the Republic of South Sudan (South Sudan) from the Republic of Sudan (North Sudan), ongoing hostilities between the two states threaten prospects for lasting peace. In particular, sovereignty disputes in Abyei, a resource-rich and culturally important region falling on the North Sudanese-South Sudanese border, pose significant risks to the security of Abyei residents and diminish the viability of long-term bilateral cooperation.

Although conflict in Abyei has existed alongside broader intra-Sudanese tensions for several decades, the independence of South Sudan presents the possibility for a novel solution: a "condominium" arrangement between the two states in Abyei. Whereas past solutions have failed to provide a tolerable compromise between North Sudan and South Sudan as it existed pre-independence, a condominium approach leverages this recent change in state structure and builds upon existing agreements over Abyei to provide a pragmatic, bilateral solution.

This Comment, then, addresses the viability and benefits of the condominium approach. Beginning with a history of relevant background to the Abyei conflict and proceeding to outline and apply the framework of condominium agreements over border disputes in international law, this Comment reconsiders the Abyei problem in context of a solution not previously considered.

This Comment builds upon the recent work of Joel Samuels, who argues for more robust consideration of condominium solutions in contemporary international disputes and seeks to incorporate lessons from historical condominium agreements and broader principles of common ownership rights. Although there is significant literature on early agreements and adjudications regarding the Abyei conflict as it existed prior to South Sudan's independence, this Comment seeks to take the next step and explore a condominium approach that incorporates many of the provisions of such agreements and adjudications.

Table of Contents

I. Introduction ..............266

II History of Dispute in Abyei ..............268

A. General Background ..............268

B. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).............. 270

C. Recent Violence, the Temporary Agreement, and the 2011 Referendum ..............274

III. The Condominium Solution ..............275

A. Weaknesses of Other Proposed Solutions ..............275

B. Introduction to Condominium Arrangements ..............278

C. Tenets for a Strong Condominium ..............279

D. The Benefits of a Condominium Approach to Abyei ..............281

IV. Applying the Condominium Approach to Abyei ..............282

A. Border Demarcation ..............283

B. Citizenship Rights ..............284

C. Executive Authority ..............285

D. Legislative Authority ..............286

E. Capital Resources ..............287

F. Oversight and Security ..............289

V. Conclusion ..............289

I. Introduction

On July 9, 2011, the Republic of South Sudan (South Sudan) became an independent country, separating from the Republic of Sudan (North Sudan) by virtue of a popular referendum held six months earlier.1 The independence referendum was the key provision of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA),2 an international arbitration undertaken to resolve a range of disputes between northern and southern Sudan that plagued the state with civil war since its own independence from Egypt and the UK in 1956.

Hostilities between northern and southern Sudan stemmed from regional differences within the nation exacerbated by Sudan's governance under a condominium arrangement between the UK and Egypt. The Anglo-Egyptian condominium governed Sudan as two separate administrations, one northern and one southern, thus cementing regional identification and intra-national hostilities. …

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