[JURIST] Sudan's National Assembly on Wednesday unanimously approved a new constitution [May 5 draft version, PDF] that moves the country away from pure Islamic rule. It provides that Islamic law will not be applied in largely Christian areas, generally in the south of the country, and removes a requirement that president be a Muslim. The constitution comes [JURIST report] as a result of a January-ratified peace deal [JURIST report] between the government and southern rebels. A Christian rebel leader will be sworn in as vice president later this week. AP has more.
4:18 PM ET – In a statement late Wednesday, Amnesty International slammed the new Sudanese charter for providing broad immunity against prosecution to top Sudanese officials:
Article 60 of the Interim Constitution grants immunity from prosecution to the President and First Vice President of the Republic of the Sudan for all crimes except those of high treason, gross misconduct in relation to State affairs, and gross violations of the Constitution. In these cases, action against alleged perpetrators can only to be undertaken with the approval of three quarters of National Legislature members. Article 92 grants similar immunity for members of the National Legislature. No reference is made to international legal standards in limiting immunity in either article.
The AI statement suggested that the arrangement "provides further evidence that the government of Sudan should not sideline the International Criminal Court in favour of national prosecutions of possible war crimes committed in the armed conflict in Darfur."