Mogadishu – The Federal Government of Somalia in conjunction with the United Nations (UN) has launched an extensive programme to train over 350 judicial officers countrywide to assist in the rebuilding of the country’s justice sector.
The training programme, designed and developed with support from the UN Development Programme (UNDP) – UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) Joint Rule of Law Programme, the European Union and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), will be conducted in collaboration with the Faculty of Law of Mogadishu University.
While launching the programme at the Somalia Supreme Court premises in Mogadishu on Sunday, Ibrahim Idle Suleyman, the country’s Chief Justice said the series of trainings would support judicial reforms and development of laws to bring the country to current global standards.
“The country’s political architecture has changed and this has an impact on the judiciary. As a result, we need to undertake judicial reforms,” Mr. Idle Suleyman explained. “This also includes the need to reconstruct the buildings that house the judicial institutions. Our structures were destroyed [during the war], and are in need of repair,” he added.
The training for judicial officers will cover priority areas, including: court management and leadership; civil trial procedure; criminal trial procedures; general principles of the Somali criminal law; and rights of the accused and the victims. The judicial officers will also learn procedures and guidance for crime investigations; legal and administrative procedures; ethics, and practical legal skills.
David Akopyan, the UNDP Deputy Country Director for Somalia, said delivery of justice was critical to ensuring good governance, strengthening the rule of law and establishing order.
“The United Nations Development Programme is here to help the country to get on its own feet; and to start developing its own systems,” Mr. Akopyan emphasized. “We want Somali politics, justice, security and jobs; employment and economic opportunities to be inclusive. This is the key message of inclusiveness from UNDP; and we are here to make this country a better place for you and your children.”
The UNDP has in the past trained 90 judges and prosecutors in rule of law issues, justice and security in Somalia.
Christoph Buik, the UN Police Commissioner in Somalia, said the training of judicial officers will be the first structured programme of its kind to be undertaken in Somalia since 2012. “Capacitating judicial personnel is critical, especially at the federal member states [level] to ensure that the judiciary can fulfill its mandates and deliver justice services to the people in Somalia,” Mr. Buik stated.
The training will initially benefit judges, prosecutors, and registrars, before it is expanded to train judicial personnel from the Federal Member States of Jubbaland, South West, Galmudug, Hirshabelle and Puntland. “The training will contribute towards establishing independent, accountable and capable judiciary which will be able to address the justice needs of the Somali people,” Mr. Buik added.
In his remarks, Hassan Hussein Haji, the Federal Minister of Justice, said the training fulfils the federal government’s efforts to have a judiciary that meets international standards. “I would like to encourage you to take advantage of this training,” he told the judicial officers during the launch of the training programme in Mogadishu.
The Speaker of the Upper House, Abdi Hashi, closed the launch ceremony by saying, “This training is the first of its kind since the collapse of our government 26 years ago. We expect these trainings to be hosted inside the country as well as the regional capitals to ensure more people participate,” Mr. Hussein Haji added.
The Minister’s sentiments were echoed by Ahmed Ali Dahir, the Attorney General, who advised the trainees to maximize the learning opportunity to acquire much needed legal skills. “Whatever skills and knowledge you will have acquired after the training, you will be required to showcase in courts of law and while administering justice. We need to see you put the skills to practice,” he told judicial officers.