Prosecutors, judges and investigators in Somalia are undergoing specialized training to handle cases on complex crimes with the support of IDLO.
Somalia is striving to strengthen its institutions and to improve the rule of law, however high levels of crime persist. These include forms of complex crimes, namely extremist violence and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
In recent years, the Somali Federal Government has improved the fight against armed groups and made efforts to enhance the capacity of the judiciary to handle complex crimes. To this end, building on existing capacity, IDLO, is delivering a series of specialized trainings on crimes of violent extremism and SGBV to judges, prosecutors and investigators to strengthen the response to complex crimes.
The trainings address practical difficulties encountered by prosecutors, judges and investigators in their work by identifying good practices. The sessions facilitate a shared understanding on case file management, chain of custody requirements for admissible evidence, issuing of warrants, general investigative protocol and unique investigative problems associated with cases involving rape and other forms of SGBV.
Investigators are trained on crime scene protocol through a 7-step process, including conducting primary surveys, securing and sketching a crime scene, collecting and analyzing evidence and other required actions. The sessions also cover the management of a filing system to ensure that recorded court dates occur on time and there is no delay in justice. Judges and prosecutors subsequently went through a training on understanding criminal intent, psychological elements of crimes, the revised penal code and inchoate crimes, particularly relating to violent extremism. This training was attended and supported by the Chief Justice, Attorney General and the President of the Benadir Regional Court.
Somalia’s Attorney General, Ahmed Ali Dahir, observed, “By working with IDLO, our prosecutors have gained expertise in critical areas, particularly in combating SGBV and violent extremism. IDLO problem-based training methodology has had a high impact on our ability to effectively prosecute cases.”
To comprehensively build the capacity of the criminal justice system in the country, future training sessions will target other justice actors, such as judges, and their specific needs. Identified gaps include increasing judges’ and prosecutors’ capacity in adhering to courtroom procedures and applying the Somali Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code on violent extremism cases.
IDLO’s Somalia program emphasizes the link between judicial capacity-building and Somalia’s development, as rule of law and access to justice are important indicators of the country’s growth and stability.