Constitutional Provisions

The 2005 Constitution of the Republic of the Sudan is being superseded by a new transitional constitutional document. The 2005 Constitution explicitly protected the rights to life and to freedom from torture. Article 28 provides that:

Every human being has the inherent right to life, dignity and the integrity of his person, which shall be protected by law; no one shall arbitrarily be deprived of his life.

Article 33 stipulated that: "No person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment."

Under Article 40(1), the right to peaceful assembly shall be guaranteed.

According to Article 148(1), the Police

is a regular service force whose mission is to maintain law and order; its service shall be open to all Sudanese to reflect the diversity and multiplicity of the Sudanese society; it shall discharge its duties with impartiality and integrity in compliance with the law and the nationally and internationally accepted standards.

The Constitution does not otherwise regulate the use of force by the police or other law enforcement agency. In August 2019, however, Sudan’s ruling generals and the leaders of public protest signed a constitutional declaration that paves the way for a transition to civilian rule. The declaration provides for a joint civilian-military ruling body to oversee the formation of a transitional civilian government and parliament to govern for three years until national elections can be held.

Article 41(2) of the Declaration stipulates that all rights and freedoms contained in international human rights agreements, pacts, and charters ratified by the Republic of Sudan are an integral part of the new constitution.

Article 35(1) provides that the police forces are national, uniformed law enforcement forces, and are competent to preserve the security and safety of society. They are subject to the policies and decisions of the executive authority by law.

Treaty Adherence

Global Treaties

Adherence to Selected Human Rights Treaties
1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) State Party
ICCPR Optional Protocol 1 Not party
1984 Convention against Torture (CAT) Signatory
Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints N/A
CAT Optional Protocol 1 N/A
Adherence to International Criminal Law Treaties
1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Signatory*

* Sudan has declared that it will not become a state party to the ICC Statute.

Regional Treaties

Adherence to Regional Human Rights Treaties

1981 African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights

State Party
1998 Protocol to the African Charter on the African Court Signatory
Article 34(6) declaration regarding individual petitions N/A
Adherence to International Criminal Law Treaties at Regional Level
Malabo Protocol on the African Court of Justice and Human Rights Not party

National Legislation

Police Use of Force

In addition to the regular police and the Sudan People's Armed Forces, the Government maintains an external security force, an internal security force, and a militia known as the Popular Defense Forces (PDF).Sharanjeet Parmar, "An Overview of the Sudanese Legal System and Legal Research", January 2007, at: punishment is widely used by the so-called Public Order Police.

To the extent it is regulated by domestic legislation, Sudan has highly permissive rules on police use of force, notably in the context of assemblies. According to Article 125 of the 2003 Code of Criminal Procedure, related to offences against public safety, if a crowd refuses to disperse following an order from the Public Prosecutor, or from a police official, to do so, law enforcement agents may proceed to disperse the crowd, with the least use of force possible. Firearms may only be used with the permission of the Prosecutor, and in no case should they be used with the intent to kill.

Police Oversight

There is no civilian oversight body for the police in Sudan, who in any event enjoy de jure immunity from prosecution for acts committed on duty.



Sudan's deposed president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who is now in prison in Sudan, has been indicted and an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court to face charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

Views and Concluding Observations of United Nations Treaty Bodies

In its 2018 Concluding Observations on Sudan, the Human Rights Committee expressed its concern 

about allegations that police and security officers use excessive force to disperse demonstrations. This reportedly happened, for example, during crackdowns on anti-austerity protests in January 2018, when live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas were reportedly used against demonstrators, resulting in the death and injury of several protesters.

The Committee called on Sudan to

ensure that the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials are implemented, through measures to ensure that law enforcement personnel do not use excessive force during demonstrations and that all such instances of excessive use of force are promptly, impartially and effectively investigated and that those responsible are brought to justice.

In early July 2019, amid the violent repression of peaceful protests in towns and cities across Sudan, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called on the Sudanese authorities to launch proper independent investigations into all acts of violence and allegations of excessive use of force, including attacks on hospitals. 


Sudan is a signatory but not a state party to the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights. Its membership of the African Union was suspended in June 2019 as a result of the violence by state agents against peaceful protesters.

Abdel Hadi and others v. Sudan (2014)

In this case, the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights stated that:

police officers in Sudan generally enjoy immunity which can only be lifted after a preliminary investigation… there is no established procedure or right to compel the Prosecution Attorney to commence an investigation where there is an allegation of wrongdoing by the police…. The Commission considers the granting of such blanket immunities to police officers as an impediment to the exhaustion of local remedies since it is not disputed that there is no legal obligation on the part of the police hierarchy to lift the immunities of these officers on demand.”Abdel Hadi and others v. Sudan, App. No. 368/09, African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, para. 47.


The majority of cases in Sudan are undocumented, making it difficult to report on the country’s national jurisprudence surrounding police or prison officer use of force. However, in a report submitted to the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan in May 2017, the Sudanese Government stated that, from 1 January 2016 to 31 March 2017, 46 police officers and Sudanese armed forces personnel had been disciplined and prosecuted for various crimes, including murder and injuries.Report of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, UN doc. A/HRC/36/63, 27 July 2017, para. 75. 


2005 Constitution of Sudan

Sudan Constitutional Declaration (English) (2019)

Sudan Constitutional Declaration (English) (2019)

Sudan Constitutional Declaration (Arabic) (2019)

Sudan Constitutional Declaration (Arabic) (2019)

2003 Code of Criminal Procedure of Sudan

Human Rights Committee Concluding Observations on Sudan (2018)

Abdel Hadi v Sudan (ACmnHPR, 2014)

Report of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan (2017)