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Law Clinic Works on Draft Constitution for South Sudan

During the spring semester, four Law School students participated in a clinic led by Muna B. Ndulo, professor of law and director of Cornell University's Institute for African Development. Their challenge: to draft a new constitution for the Republic of South Sudan, which became Africa's newest independent state on July 9 after residents voted overwhelmingly for secession from the north.

Ndulo, together with Professor Christina Murray of Cape Town University, is a consultant to the National Democratic Institute, which is advising the new state on institution building as it emerges from Africa's longest civil war. A crucial task for South Sudan "is to adopt a new constitution that guarantees the establishment of a just and democratic state based on the separation of powers, good governance, constitutionalism, and the respect of the rule of law," says Ndulo.

To help him guide this document's creation, Ndulo enlisted students Calli Ferreira LL.M. '11; Lilian Balasanian '11; Ejemen Ofoman LL.M. '11; and Kamilka Malwatte '11, who performed a comparative study of several states' constitutions in search of best practices. By the end of the semester, they had completed a draft constitution. "The students learned a great deal and participated in an ongoing project of international importance," says Ndulo. "I found their expertise and dedication to the project inspiring."

Ndulo joined the Cornell Law School Faculty in 1996. He is honorary professor of law at the University of Cape Town, a member of the Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch (Africa), and chairperson of South African NGO Gender Links.