Advisory Work

Sujit Choudhry has been an advisor to constitution building, governance, and rule of law processes for over 20 years, including in Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Myanmar, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Ukraine and Yemen.

He has worked in a broad variety of contexts, including during ceasefires and conditions of political violence.  His field experience includes: technical advice to multi-party dialogues, facilitating public dialogue sessions with civil society groups and other stakeholders, leading stakeholder consultations, performing detailed advisory work with technical experts, training civil servants and bureaucrats, engaging party leaders and parliamentarians, and drafting technical reports and memoranda in the field.

Here are some examples of Choudhry’s field engagements:

Legal advisor to multi-party dialogue for Myanmar peace process (details confidential).

Legal advisor to Yemen multi-party dialogue in Tunis, convened by International IDEA under the auspices of the UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen (present).

Launched report (in English and Ukrainian) on semi-presidentialism to members of the Constitutional Commission of Ukraine in Kyiv at a high-level workshop co-convened by the European Union, the Venice Commission (European Commission for Democracy through Law), International IDEA, and the Center of Policy and Legal Reform (Ukraine) (2018).

Convened a closed door international roundtable in Berlin in partnership with Democracy Reporting International and the Center for Global Constitutionalism at the WZB Berlin Social Science Centre to examine the prospects and pathways for recovering from authoritarian constitutionalism in Hungary and Poland, bringing together constitutional experts from Hungary and Poland with colleagues from Germany, South Africa, and the United States, and with representatives of the Venice Commission (European Commission for Democracy through Law), International IDEA, and German Chancellery and Foreign Office (2017).

Invited participant in Expert Group meetings in Geneva and New York on Transitional Justice and Atrocity Prevention to advise Pablo de Greiff, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence & Adama Dieng, UN Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the prevention of genocide (2017).

Prepared a memorandum for International IDEA on issues related to federalism as a tool to resolve conflict and reconstitute states, in support of a multi-party dialogue relating to the Yemen conflict (2017).

Jointly led an expert workshop in Kyiv, co-hosted by International IDEA and the Centre of Policy and Legal Reform, to review a draft report which I co-authored (in English and Ukrainian) on constitutional reforms to executive powers in Ukraine, as part of the constitutional review being led by the Constitutional Commission of Ukraine (2017).

Served as a senior international scholar in residence at the Academy of the Arab Association of Constitutional Law in Tunis, leading seminars and working intensively with emerging constitutional experts from across the Arab region on the relationship between security sector reform and constitutional transitions (2016).

Participated in an expert consultation co-convened by the Center for Policy Alternatives (Sri Lanka) and International IDEA to advise Prime Minster Wickremesinghe on constitutional reform, including meeting personally with the Prime Minister to brief him on the results of our consultation (2015).

Co-chaired a two-day international meeting in Brussels to present the preliminary results of the Dealing with Territorial Cleavages in Constitutional Transitions project, in cooperation with the European Union External Action Service and hosted by the European Union Committee of Regions, attended by nearly 100 representatives of multilateral organizations (including the United Nations), regional organizations, MFAs, ODAs, NGOs, and technical advisors (2015).

Co-chaired an international meeting of experts from Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, North America and Western Europe at the Canadian embassy in Tunis, in partnership with International IDEA, for the Security Sector Oversight: Protecting Democratic Consolidation From Authoritarian Backsliding & Partisan Abuse project, to explore legal and institutional mechanisms for security sector oversight in transitional democracies (2014).

Co-chaired an international meeting of experts from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, North America and Western Europe at the Canadian embassy in the Hague, in partnership with International IDEA, for the Security Sector Reform & Constitutional Transitions In Emerging Democracies project, to explore the role of security sector reform in constitutional reform processes (2014).

Directed the Constitutional Transitions Clinic (at the New York University School of Law), that deployed 40 student researchers from 11 countries stationed in the United States, Beirut, Cairo and Tunis to support International IDEA’s Middle East constitution building program, by providing ‘back office’ legal research support to constitutional advisers on the ground as well as researchers in the field; produced six technical reports (in English and Arabic) on constitutional design in the Middle East and North Africa, jointly published by International IDEA, CT, and (for three reports) UNDP, and served as the lead author on these reports; made two missions to Tunisia with the research team to present draft reports and consult President Marzouki, legal experts, parliamentarians with responsibility for the constitutional process, academic experts, civil society, and university students (2012 to 2014).

Member of a joint Egyptian-international expert group, convened by International IDEA in cooperation with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, to review a draft of the Egyptian constitution in Cairo (2013).

Drafted a report for International IDEA on design options for the Libyan constitutional process (prior to the election of the Constitutional Assembly of Libya), which addressed possible mechanisms to coordinate the work of the Constitutional Assembly and the General National Congress (GNC), and led a workshop in Tripoli with members of the GNC to review and discuss these options (2012 to 2013).

Engaged parliamentarians, civil society, and the diplomatic community in a public lecture, invitational workshop and private sessions, in Colombo, on power-sharing options (including electoral system design and executive powers) for Sri Lanka that could both enhance political competition among Sinhalese parties and accommodate the demands of Tamil nationalists (2012).

Participated as international expert in workshop convened by International IDEA to review a draft of the 2011 Jordanian constitutional amendments in Beirut (2012).

⦁ Served on a team providing technical advice on the redesign of Nepal’s judicial system to adapt it to a federal structure through consultations with the legal profession and judiciary, in support of the Nepal Bar Association; and led workshops on official language rights for the indigenous peoples’ caucus of Nepal’s Constitutional Assembly (hosted by International IDEA), and on the right to self-determination for indigenous peoples under international law (hosted by UNDP) (2010).