Sudanese parties refer Abyei case formally to the arbitration court

The Hague
July 12, 2008 (ST)

The two signatories of 2005 peace deal formally referred their dispute over the findings of Abyei Boundary Commission to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague today.

The arbitration tribunal has to determine whether or not the Abyei Boundaries Commission (ABC) experts exceeded their mandate "to define and demarcate the area of the Nine Ngok Dinka Chiefdoms transferred from Bahr el Ghazal to Kordofan in 1905, as per the Abyei Protocol, the Appendix, ABC Terms of Reference and Rules of Procedure."

A Joint delegation from the National Congress Party and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement consisted of Dirdiri Mohamed Ahmed for the NCP and Luka Biong for the SPLM filed their agreement “Notice of Arbitration” to resolve the dispute over Abyei to the court with all the procedural details as it had been agreed between the parties in Juba last month.

The arbitral court will deliver to the parties within five days a list of arbitrators. The NCP and the SPLM have to appoint two arbitrators and the four will designate the fifth arbitrator, who will head the tribunal.

The Sudanese Ambassador, Abul Qassem Abdel Wahid said the two parties have assigned their legal representatives to defend their interests. He disclosed that Khartoum has appointed Dirdiri Mohamed Ahmed to represent its interest. While the SPLM appointed the Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG) to represent it in the International Court of Arbitration.

According to the roadmap agreement signed on June 8, the arbitration tribunal has two choices.

If it states that the ABC didn’t exceed its mandate the court will confirm the ABC conclusions and order for its full implementation. But if it finds that Abyei experts exceeded their mandate the arbitration then shall define and demarcate the boundary of the Nine Ngok Dinka Chiefdoms transferred from Bahr el Ghazal to Kordofan in 1905.

Since three year the NCP rejects the ABC report saying the experts went beyond their mandate because they attribute a territory northern to Bahr al-Arab (Kiir river) to the Ngok Dinka. The experts say their mandate was limited to define the nine Ngok chiefdoms and not to define 1905 boundary.


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