New unified curriculum for judiciary launched across Somalia

Jul 16, 2017

Abdi Hashi Abdullahi, the Speaker of the Upper House of Federal Parliament of Somalia, addresses participants during the curriculum launch ceremony. © UN Photo / Omar Abdisalan

Mogadishu, 16 July 2017 - A new training curriculum for the Somali judiciary has been launched by the Federal Government of Somalia, with the Minister of Justice H.E. Hassan Hussein Haji, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Hasan Ibrahim Idle Suleiman, and the Attorney General, Ahmed Ali Dahir, in attendance. The training course will be rolled out in Mogadishu as well as in Jubbaland, Southwest State, Galmudug, Hirshabelle, and Puntland, and will be run in collaboration with the Faculty of Law at Mogadishu University. Over three hundred and fifty judges, prosecutors and registrars will be trained as part of the programme in 2017. 

The launch of the curriculum is a landmark achievement in a country that is rebuilding its justice and security institutions after decades of conflict. The trainings will lay the groundwork for the establishment of an independent and accountable judiciary which can address the justice needs of the Somali people. The course is also expected to provide the foundation upon which a National Judicial Training Institute will be established. 

The curriculum will include ten modules, covering such topics as criminal and civil trial procedures, Somali criminal law and general principles and ethics of the judiciary. The go ahead to develop the course was given at a high level meeting organized by the Somali Supreme Court in Mogadishu in December 2016, which was attended by representatives from the judiciary. A training manual for each module, developed by Somali legal experts, will accompany the course. The manuals were completed in June 2017 after a comprehensive review process. 

The training course has been launched through funding from the EU and the UK, and with technical support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), UN Women, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), under a UN Joint Rule of Law Programme. 

The Chief Justice, Ibrahim Idle Suleiman, welcomed the attendees to the launch and thanked the European Union and United Kingdom donors on behalf of the judiciary. “The training launched today is part of judicial reform efforts which includes reviewing the legislative framework in light of the federalization of the country, updating the judicial system and rebuilding judicial infrastructure," he said.

Minister of Justice H.E. Hassan Hussein Haji hailed the launch of the training programme as a milestone in Somalia and reiterated that it will provide the foundation upon which the National Judicial Training Institute will be established. He acknowledged the difficult conditions under which the judiciary is working, saying, “We are committed to securing the rights of the judiciary. There are efforts to establish the Judicial Service Commission and to review the organization of the judiciary in line with the federalization of the country.”

The Minister also announced that a Public Complaints Office will be opened to provide the public with an opportunity to voice their concerns against the judiciary. “This office will only collect the complaints and will hand over to the judicial service commission once it is operational,” he said. 

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Deputy Country Director, David Akopyan, highlighted the vital role of the judiciary, commenting: “The judiciary provides a strong mechanism of accountability by ensuring that all people - government, individuals and the state itself - are held accountable to the laws of the country."

The Speaker of the Upper House, Abdi Hashi Abdullahi, closed the launch ceremony by saying, “This training is the first of its kind since the collapse of our government 26 years ago. The judges, prosecutors and registrars will be trained on Somali soil by Somali experts on a much wider scale than previous trainings.”

Mr Abdullahi continued: “Somalia can only achieve success if there is effective rule of law. The law is above everyone and we need to maintain and improve the rule of law in our country by stopping unnecessary clan divisions. We need to work hard and be united.” 

The United Nations Joint Rule of Law Programme support is provided through a UN Global Focal Point mechanism which allows the United Nations to work as one in delivering assistance on rule of law programmes in post conflict and crisis situations. 

Contact information

Franco Sanchez, UNDP Governance and Rule of Law Programme Manager.

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