12/03/2015
lisa monaghan

Lathrop and Bederman (2011). Government of Sudan v. Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (“Abyei Arbitration”)

On July 22, 2009, a five-member arbitral tribunal, operating under the Permanent Court

of Arbitration’s Optional Rules for Arbitrating Disputes Between Two Parties of Which Only

One Is a State, rendered its 4-1 decision in the excess-of-mandate and boundary-delimitation

case between the government of Sudan (Government) and the Sudan People’s Liberation

Movement/Army (SPLM/A).1 The tribunal was asked (1) to determine whether the Abyei

Boundaries Commission (ABC) Experts (Experts) had, in their final report2 (Report),

exceeded their mandate, which was “to define and demarcate the area of the nine Ngok Dinka

Chiefdoms transferred to Kordofan in 1905,”3 and, if so, (2) to delimit that region, known as

the Abyei area (see map). The tribunal found that the Experts had not exceeded their mandate

with respect to the southern boundary of the Abyei area, the northern limit of permanent Ngok Dinka habitation, or the survival of established secondary (seasonal) rights on either side of the northern boundary. The tribunal did find, however, that the Experts had exceeded their mandate with respect to the delimitation of the area of shared secondary rights in the north, and with respect to the delimitation of the northern, western, and eastern boundaries of the Abyei area for failing to state sufficient reasons for how they implemented their mandate. The tribunal accepted the possibility of a partial nullity of the Experts’ Report and set aside only those decisions in the Report that were rendered in excess of the Experts’ mandate. In particular, the tribunal delimited new boundaries in the east and west, and ruled that, while the defined area……

Category: Conflict, Politics and Political Agreements

Sub-category: Armed Groups/Actors, Regional