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2010 | J.M.Otto (ed.); Sharia Incorporated: A Comparative Overview of the Legal Systems of Twelve Muslim Countries in Past and Present, University of Chicago Press, 2010.

This book presents a study of the influence of Sharia law in the national legal systems of 12 African, Middle Eastern and Far Eastern States. Sudan is the subject of chapter 5. The chapter begins by showing how the Sudanese legal system has evolved from the sixteenth century to early 2010. The role of Sharia in recent Sudanese legislation is then analyzed. In the last section the author tensions that exist between the human rights and international obligations of Sudan on the one hand and Sudan’s Sharia-based legislation on the other.

Of particular interest is the overview of the criminal law (p. 210 ff). The author explains that female victims of rape can suffer grave injustices from the Sudanese courts when the rape has resulted in pregnancy. Since pregnancy out of wedlock is recognized as proof of unlawful sexual intercourse, in some cases pregnancy was taken for implicit proof of the offence of zina (unlawful sexual intercourse). When no witnesses or confession by the rapist can be produced the victim can be convicted for unlawful sexual intercourse, proven by the fact of pregnancy. While the author refers to some cases where alleged rape was accepted as casting doubt on an allegation of unlawful sexual intercourse, (alleged) rapists were acquitted in all cases for lack of evidence.