Sudan: Cabinet and Ruling Sovereign Council Pass New Law Repealing Israel Boycott Act of 1958

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(May 7, 2021) On April 19, 2021, the Sudanese Cabinet and the Sovereign Ruling Council in a joint session approved a draft law to repeal the Israel Boycott Act of 1958. Because Sudan currently has no parliament, draft laws become laws by the approval of Sudan’s Ruling Sovereign Council and the Cabinet in a joint session. The Cabinet had announced on April 6, 2021, that it had approved the draft law, which it then referred the Sovereign Ruling Council. Composed of military and civilian figures, the Sovereign Ruling Council acts as the presidential council of Sudan.

The new measure comes after Sudan agreed to normalize ties with Israel in October 2020 through the mediation of the United States. Sudan had previously had a hostile relationship with Israel under former Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, who was ousted in April 2019.

Israel Boycott Act of 1958

The Israel Boycott Act of 1958 consisted of seven provisions. It prohibited Sudanese citizens from entering into an agreement of any kind, personally or through mediation, with entities or persons residing in Israel. Furthermore, it banned any Sudanese citizen or corporation from dealing with foreign companies and establishments that had public interests, branches, or agencies in Israel. (Israel Act of 1958, art. 2.)

The act forbade any Sudanese person or entity from importing, exporting, exchanging, or trading Israeli goods, commodities, and products, whether those goods came directly or indirectly from Israel to Sudan. (Art. 3(1).)

The act directed the minister of finance and national economy to require Sudanese import-export companies to present to Sudanese customs a certificate of origin for imported goods showing that they had not come from Israel. (Art. 4, para. 1.) Likewise, the act outlawed the export of any Sudanese goods to Israel. (Art. 5.)

Finally, the act imposed criminal penalties on individuals violating the provisions of the act. It stipulated that whoever violated the provisions of the act was punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment or a fine determined by the court, or with both penalties. Additionally, any imported or exported goods involved were to be confiscated. (Art. 7.)