International Development Law Organization

Somalia

English

In 2012 a Somali government took office with international backing, after two decades of anarchy and warfare. Supported by African Union peacekeeping troops, the government is seeking to extend its jurisdiction over areas of the country still controlled by Islamist militias.

As a consequence of conflict, Somalia's development and humanitarian indicators remain among the lowest in the world. IDLO is helping build and strengthen institutions, as a precondition to improving the lives of Somali citizens. This work includes supporting the judicial system and contributing to the Constitution-making process.

IDLO's Somalia Work Showcased in DC

IDLO Somalia Country Director Adam-Shirwa Jama told a Washington roundtable hosted by the United States Institute of Peace that reform of the justice system had begun in Somalia. While it would take time for justice institutions to reach the whole of the country, Mr. Jama said, IDLO was encouraged by the international support given to these nascent institutions.

Delivering Justice in Somalia

IDLO has been assisting the Ministry of Justice in developing a framework to enshrine the rule of law. In particular, we collaborated with the Ministry, the judiciary and other institutions to develop of a two-year Justice Sector Action Plan. The initiative was designed to help strengthen institutional capacity lay the foundations for a sustainable and effective justice system.

Constitutional Reform in Somalia

IDLO is working to support the endorsement of Somalia’s Provisional Constitution. In the first half of 2012, we helped produce a comparative analysis of the new draft Constitution, the Constitution of 1960 and the Transitional Federal Charter of 2004, with recommendations for changes where appropriate. The Provisional Constitution was adopted in 2012. The constitution-making process is set to continue until 2016, with the resulting document put to a public referendum.

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Key Initiatives

  • Lack of good governance and the rule of law are one of the most pressing problems confronting modern Somalia on its path towards stability and reconstruction. While there have been signs of progress, the absence of robust and competent institutions has contributed to a climate of insecurity and impunity. Several assessments of the justice system in Somalia have found that judges and prosecutors lack of adequate skills to effectively administer criminal trials in line with Somali laws and procedures, particularly with respect to safeguarding the rights of the accused.
  • As a result of the combined military offensive of the Somali National Army and African Union Mission in Somalia with international support, the Al Shabaab extremist group has been significantly degraded and forced into retreat. Al Shabaab’s emergence, and support, particularly among marginalized communities, was and is still to a large extent fueled by both inter and intra-clan conflicts and lack of justice.
  • Lack of access to a fair and equitable justice system is one of the most pressing problems confronting modern Somalia on its path towards stability and reconstruction. Informal justice systems, offering alternative dispute resolution are often much better placed to respond to the immediate justice needs of many Somalis seeking justice, as they have more legitimacy and are more easily accessible. To enhance access to justice in Somalia, it is therefore essential to engage with the alternative dispute resolution systems.
  • In Somalia, alternative justice mechanisms remain the main providers of justice services for lack of formal justice institutions. However, these justice mechanisms can be discriminatory particularly against women, youth and minority clans.
  • As part of IDLO’s continuous commitment to accountability and results-based management, IDLO is pleased to share this Evaluation Brief for the project, "Strengthening Linkages Between Formal Justice System and Traditional Dispute Resolution System to Improve Access to Justice - Phase II". The evaluation has been conducted by independent evaluation experts, supervised by IDLO’s Evaluation Unit.
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