Somalia’s Federal and state governments reach agreement on new Justice and Corrections framework

The Deputy Constitutional Minister of the Federal Government of Somalia, Hussein Abdi Elmi, speaks at the signing ceremony of the political agreement on Justice and Corrections System for Somalia in Jowhar, on 24 January 2018. UN Photo

25 Jan 2018

Somalia’s Federal and state governments reach agreement on new Justice and Corrections framework

Jowhar - A new agreement seeking to streamline the justice and corrections systems in Somalia has been endorsed by the country’s Federal Government and Federal Member States.

“This agreement will enable the systematic building of justice and corrections institutions at state and federal levels and increased provision of basic justice chain services for the Somali people,” the Director of the UN Assistance Mission in Somali’s (UNSOM) Rule of Law and Security Institutions Group (ROLSIG), Staffan Tillander, said at the agreement’s signing ceremony, which took place yesterday in Jowhar, the capital of HirShabelle State.

The accord provides a framework within which the federal and state-level governments can support the rebuilding of the Horn of Africa country’s justice and corrections system – critical institutions which were destroyed during its civil war.

The event was attended by Federal Justice Minister Hassan Hussein Haji and all of the country’s state ministers of justice. ROLSIG and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) provided technical support for the development of the framework.

“This is a victory for Somalia,” Minister Haji said in his remarks at the event, while also commending the collaborative efforts of all those involved. “It is an agreement on how we are going to organize our justice and corrections system.”

The political agreement, which is considered an important aspect of Somalia’s state-building and federalization process, is the culmination of two years of technical consultations and negotiations between the Federal Government and Federal Member States.

“We are emerging out of conflict that failed to address disagreements. I applaud the painstaking efforts of the various federal and state justice ministries to make this agreement a reality,” noted HirShabelle President Mohamed Abdi Waare, who hosted the signing ceremony.  

President Waare expressed hope that the new justice and corrections system will end the injustices endured by local populations for decades.

“It will complement progress that has already been achieved in policing and the implementation of the New Policing Model, which has been successful in allowing international partners to identify areas to provide support,” Mr. Tillander added.

The New Policing Model – which sets out a future structure of police services – was agreed upon in March 2016 by internal security ministers from the Federal Government and federal member states. It was subsequently endorsed by the National Leadership Forum, and that backing was confirmed by the agreement on a national security architecture that was reached in April 2017.

The model codifies a two-tier approach for policing by state-level police services and a federal police service, with each reporting to their respective state-level and federal ministries of internal security. Each component will be responsible for recruitment and training of police personnel.

UNSOM’s activities include supporting the country in the next phase of building a justice system that upholds judicial independence and benefits all Somalis and a humane and secure corrections system.