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.
The Somali Ministry of Justice and IDLO have agreed to work together on reforming Somalia's Penal an
IDLO’s Country Director for Somalia Adam-Shirwa Jama, responds to IDLO LinkedIn group members' questions:
Many thanks to the members for your interest in IDLO’s work in Somalia. Apologies if we didn’t manage to answer all your questions, we’ll arrange another session in the near future.
A country previously described as ‘the world’s most failed state,’ Somalia has yet to shed this image. This week alone has brought reports of a return to piracy in the north of the country, insurgent attacks on African Union troops in the south, and a rise in the need for emergency food aid.
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.
by Christopher Kerkering
IDLO is hosting a customary justice workshop in Mogadishu this week in conjunction with the Somali Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. Taking part are elders from four districts of Somalia.
ISTANBUL, May 31st/June 1st -- IDLO Director-General Irene Khan is taking part in a conference on the future of Somalia in Istanbul, as the organization seeks to aid progress towards a constitutional settlement in the shattered country.
“Whenever I visited Mogadishu before, I wouldn’t be allowed to leave the airport,” says IDLO’s Somalia representative in the region, Adam-Shirwa Jama. “These days, it’s a little easier and I can even venture out for meetings”.
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.
Somalia’s economy remains heavily dependent on remittances from the Somali diaspora, which the International Monetary Fund estimates account for approximately 23 per cent of Somalia’s GDP. However, examining and supervising such transactions is difficult as Somalia’s formal banking sector is nascent and underdeveloped. Concerns over the lack of a basic, functioning, regulated financial sector and weak financial regulation and oversight, including customer identification measures, have eroded international confidence in Somalia’s financial firms.
Somalia constitutes a country of origin, destination, transit, and return for large movements of people across the Horn of Africa. Movement is driven by the intersecting challenges of protracted and persistent conflict, failing systems of governance, and limited employment and livelihood opportunities. More than 2.1 million Somalis live in protracted displacement, with 1.1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and an additional 1 million Somalis hosted as refugees in countries in the immediate region.