On July 9, 2011, it was announced with great fanfare that South Sudan had become the world’s newest nation state. As new countries are wont to do, that very day President Salva Kiir promulgated a new Constitution, the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan. With substantial input from international actors and academics, the constitution featured a wide array of human rights, provisions for an independent judiciary, and a federal structure of government that conformed to international norms. Indeed, international influence was so great that one observer called it an “Intermestic” Constitution, which reflected a balance between domestic and international considerations in the text.
Hopes were high at independence for peace and prosperity. The country’s two main ethnic groups, the Nuer and Dinka, were jointly represented in a unity government. The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and its associated military wing, which had triumphed after four decades of armed struggle, promised a new era of democracy and development.
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