The Role Of Ex Aequo Et Bono In International Border Settlement: A Critique Of The Sudanese Abyei Arbitration* – Vol. 20 No. 4

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Author: Josephine K. Mason*

Published: December 2010

Right to Decide ex aequo et bono
International Character of Dispute
International and Transnational Law
Arbitral Awards



Condemning ex aequo et bono decisions . . . discourages adjudicators—and the parties who empower them–from pursuing the fair resolution of disputes when it is most needed: when the law fails to react adequately to the need for justice. We are confident that the Tribunal’s decision will be grounded on the facts and the law, and will result in the settlement of the dispute that currently divides the parties.

In July of 2009, the arbitral tribunal in the case of Government of Sudan v. Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army issued its final and binding Award, completing a crucial step in the Sudanese peace process. The international community has watched the case with great interest, as the success of the Sudanese arbitration will likely determine whether lasting peace in the Sudan will be realized in the near future. The tribunal reviewed the decision of a panel of experts with regard to the boundaries of the oil-rich Abyei region that the Northern and Southern Sudanese had been fighting over during the decades-long civil war. The arbitration, which set the final boundaries of the area, was seen by all parties as pivotal in establishing a workable peace. During the arbitration process, the parties touched on several basic problems involving the sources of international law, in particular those relevant to border delimitation.

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*Arbitral & Judicial Decisions
**J.D., University of California, Hastings College of Law; B.A., Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley. The author is grateful to James M. Schurz and Anthony Bertero for their guidance and support.