Veteran Supreme Court judge Neemat Abdullah Kheir was appointed as chief of the judiciary by the 11-member ruling sovereign council.

Sudanese demonstrators attend a protest calling for the appointment of top judicial officials and justice for killed demonstrators, outside the presidential palace in Khartoum, Sudan on September 12, 2019.
Sudanese demonstrators attend a protest calling for the appointment of top judicial officials and justice for killed demonstrators, outside the presidential palace in Khartoum, Sudan on September 12, 2019. (Reuters)

Sudan's ruling body on Thursday appointed two top judicial officials, including the northeast African country's first ever female chief of the judiciary, state media reported.

Veteran Supreme Court judge Neemat Abdullah Kheir was appointed as chief of the judiciary by the 11-member ruling sovereign council, the official SUNA news agency reported.

The sovereign council also appointed Taj al Sir Ali as the country's new prosecutor general.

Kheir's appointment is seen to be in line with the transitional authorities' aim to achieve gender balance given that Sudanese women were at the forefront of the uprising that led to the ouster of autocrat Omar al Bashir in April.

Her appointment comes weeks after Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok appointed Asma Mohamed Abdalla, a seasoned diplomat, as the country's first ever female foreign minister.

On Thursday, the sovereign council also extended by three months the nationwide state of emergency, which had been imposed by Bashir on February 22.

Bashir had imposed the emergency law as a last ditch effort to crush the protest movement that had swelled against his ironfisted rule of three decades.

The extended state of emergency comes into effect on Friday.

Protests erupted against Bashir's rule in December after his then government tripled the price of bread.

The protests swiftly escalated into a nationwide movement against his rule that finally saw the army ousting him on April 11.

The protests then continued against a military council of generals that seized power after ousting him.

Later in August, Sudan swore in the joint civilian-military sovereign council, marking the first time that the country was not under full military rule since Bashir came to power in a 1989 coup.

The sovereign council also includes two women members, including a member of Sudan's Christian minority.

The council is tasked with overseeing the country's overall transition to civilian rule, the key demand of the protest movement.

Source: AFP