Chicago Journal of International Law


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 ofAbyei 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 overAbyei 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.