Expansion of Mobile Courts in South West State

 Credits: UNDP

Credits: UNDP

On 30th May, Baidoa’s Chief Justice, members of the judiciary and the UN discussed the restoration of the judicial system through the expansion of mobile courts in South West State. The meeting was part of the Daldhis project, financed by the UN Peacebuilding Fund, which aims to support the decentralization of governance and the restoration of state structures in Jubbaland and South West State.

As an outcome of the meeting, South West State participants agreed to expand mobile courts – an issue the Judiciary has thus far been reluctant on. Through this initiative, judges will be periodically deployed to remote areas of the region to form decisions on claims. The mobile courts system will rely on traditional leaders to bring cases to the formal judicial system if they exceed their competencies.

With the support of the Traditional Dispute Resolution Unit – currently being established in the Ministry of Justice - traditional leaders will be trained to sort out sensitive cases that need to be referred to the mobile courts. Thus, traditional leaders will continue to play a central part in the establishment of the new hybrid justice system, which mixes formal and traditional law. 
The South West State Supreme Court also appointed three lawyers to provide legal aid services to claimants who engage with the mobile courts. This will help citizens in South West State to better understand the formal legal system and set the basis for fair trial standards.

The mechanism of mobile courts is expected to considerably enhanced justice services expansion.

The formal justice system in Somalia has not been developed yet, with its key institutions still lacking the basic resources to carry out their mandates. Therefore, the Xeer, Somalia’s customary law, and Sharia’a law remain the main legal systems currently available to Somalis. Strengthening the formal legal system and providing greater access to it for all Somalis are seen as key priorities to extend the State’s authority and legitimacy, improve stability, and thereby contribute to sustainable peace in Somalia.

Improved Police visibility through provision of new uniforms to Somaliland Police

 Credits: UNDP

Credits: UNDP

A hand-over ceremony of new Police Uniform for the Somaliland Police took place at the Somaliland Police Headquarter in Hargeisa which was presented by the UNDP, Deputy Country Director for Programmes to the State Minster of Security and the Police Commissioner in the presence of the donors and representatives of the international community.

The new police uniforms will ensure that the public are able to identify and distinguish police personnel from another law enforcement and security officials while they are on the streets undertaking foot patrolling in the urban and peri urban areas. A proper identification for the police will not only improve the visibility of the police officers but also reduce the fear of reporting of crime by the community.  
It will be for the first time in Somaliland History that 6000 police uniform sets will be distributed and provided to women and men police officers, said Colonel Mohamed Baruud, the Head of Logistic and Finance Department in Somaliland Police.

“As Somaliland Police Commissioner, I am very glad to receive such striking uniforms through the Joint Rule of Law Programme which is funded by the Multi Partner Trust Fund, said the Somaliland Police Commissioner, Brigadier General Abdillahi Fadal Iiman.

On behalf of Somaliland Government, Mr. Mohamed Mouse Dirie, the State Minister of Security indicated that he is highly appreciative of the fact that majority of officers will a get a full set of uniforms including shirts, trousers, working shoes/boots, socks, belts and peak cups for commissioned and non-commissioner’s male officers. The gender balance is being adhered to in the Somaliland Police where 700 uniforms have been especially designed for the Women Police Officers who are currently serving. The women police will be dressed in skirts, skirts and head-cover/Hijab and belts.

Mr. David Akopyan, the Deputy of Country Director/Programmes of UNDP said that it was expected that the police uniforms would inculcate more discipline and self-esteem of the uniformed service, increase safety and increase public confidence.

 

Contact information

For additional information, please contact Rooble Mohamed communications Associate, UNDP, Hargeisa Area Office- Sha’ab Area- near Hargeisa Club.  rooble.mohamed@undp.org

Un Police Train Somali Police Force Officers On Gender-Based Violence

 Somali Police Force (SPF) officers from the federal and regional administrations attend a course on investigating and preventing sexual and gender-based violence held on 19 September 2016 in Mogadishu. UN Photo

Somali Police Force (SPF) officers from the federal and regional administrations attend a course on investigating and preventing sexual and gender-based violence held on 19 September 2016 in Mogadishu. UN Photo

Twenty-five officers from the Somali Police Force drawn from various parts of the country began a five-day training course on the prevention of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in Mogadishu.

The UN-sponsored training opened today and will acquaint the officers with different ways of handling sexual and gender-based violence.

The Somali Police Force Deputy Commissioner Gen. Bashir Abdi Mohamed officially opened the workshop.

“We must not accept for anyone to be physically abused. We have laws and values that we must uphold. The so-called traditional period is over; we have to understand and be pragmatic about it. I want you to be ambassadors in upholding the values of policing,” said Gen. Mohamed.

The UN Development Programme’s Head of Governance and Rule of Law in Somalia, Franco Sanchez, said the UN was committed to working with the Somali police to investigate SGBV cases. The training will focus on the collection of evidence in cases of Sexual and Gender-Based violence and interviewing techniques required to obtain critical information from victims.

“The officers will learn how to collect evidence, how to interview the victims and how to respond to them. They will also learn methodologies on questioning among others,” explained Mr. Sanchez.

A police officer from Jubbaland state, Captain Mohamed Abadir Ahmed, said he would share knowledge gained from the training with other colleagues to reduce the incidence of such cases.

“We came all the way from Kismaayo to Mogadishu in order to gain knowledge on SGBV. Since the police are tasked to protect lives and property, this gender-based violence training will enable us to stop the violence and also protect the most vulnerable members of the society from such abuse,” Captain Mohamed said.

Another participant from Galmudug state, Mandeeq Abdullahi Aden, appealed to fellow police officers to be proactive in curbing cases of gender based violence.

“Abuse against women is widespread and I cannot list them all here, but I want to practice the knowledge that I gain from this seminar in my area of operation, so that women and children are protected from sexual and gender-based violence and other abuses,” Mr. Aden stated.

UN police advisers are closely working with the Federal Government of Somalia tocounter SGBV through such training workshops, and a similar workshop will be held in Mogadishu for another group of Somali Police Force officers next week.

A New Generation in Somalia

 Nadia is in her third year of law studies. Credit: UN Photo.

Nadia is in her third year of law studies. Credit: UN Photo.

In Somalia, there is a new generation of young female law students who hope to use their education to build a strong and fair justice system.

UNDP, through the Rule of Law Access to Justice Project, has partnered with Somali universities and the Ministry of Justice to enhance the capacities and effectiveness of the courts and judiciary. UNDP provides scholarships for aspiring lawyers and supports graduate internships that place qualified students in the justice sector.


Nadia Mohamoud Mohamed, a third year law student, is one of the beneficiaries of the scholarship programme. She graduated from Al-Zubeyr Secondary School in Mogadishu in 2012.

“While a student at Mogadishu University, I have significantly enhanced my knowledge and skills and I am confident that when I graduate I will be able to practice as a Human Rights lawyer,” she said. 

“I was very lucky to have received this scholarship opportunity because otherwise it would not be possible for me to be here,” she added. “My mother can’t afford to pay the university fees and is struggling to make a living for our family, and my father has another family.”In 2015, UNDP is providing for 149 scholarships for university legal studies in Mogadishu and Bosaso. 63 of these students are female. An additional 55 graduate interns, 20 of whom are women, are being supported to work in institutions including the Attorney General’s Office, the Higher Judicial Council, the police, legal aid centres, local human rights NGOs, regional ministries and the Parliament.

Zainab Abdullahi Diriye is in her third year of studies on the scholarship programme. Originally from Galkayo in Puntland, her mother was left to provide for the family after her father died.

“I can’t express what this scholarship means to me,” Zainab said. “When I finished secondary school, my mother told me that she could not afford my university fees and that she needed me to assist her to support our family. But it was hard for me to accept this, because I thought that to keep studying and get a degree was the best way to break the cycle of suffering in my family.”

Zainab said that she was committed to enrolling at the Faculty of Law at Mogadishu University. “I found out about the scholarship opportunity and when the University learned about my situation, they offered me the scholarship.”

Like Nadiaand Zainab, many Somalis are driving development and contributing to transformation within their societies. Important changes – such as more women in decision-making, empowered local authorities, and access to livelihoods – are paving the way for a stable, peaceful, and vibrant Somalia. Among the scholarship graduates in March 2015 at Mogadishu University that UNDP spoke to, students wanted to become prosecutors, judges, legal advisors to government, and legal aid lawyers.

“I want to pay back to the community what I have been given,” said Zainab.



With support from the EU, the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands, UNDP's, UNSOM's, UNICEF's, UNOD's and UNOPS' integrated Rule of Law Project (RoL) provides support to the justice and police in South Central: Mogadishu; Galmudug administration, Jubaland and South West Administration; In Puntland: Garowe, Bossaso and Gardo; and in Somaliland: All six regions (Hargeisa, Burao and Borama, Sanaag, Saahil Sool).

Mobile Courts Workshop Opens in Mogadishu

 Participants at the Opening Ceremony. Credit: UN Photo.

Participants at the Opening Ceremony. Credit: UN Photo.

JOINT PRESS RELEASE

Mogadishu, 16 December 2015 – The Federal Government of Somalia, United Nations, and donor partners welcomed the opening of the Mobile Courts Planning Workshop this week in Mogadishu. Access to a functioning and fair legal system is one of the pillars of sustainable peace and development. As part of the Joint Rule of Law Joint Programme, Mobile Courts provide access to legal aid services and information to those in the most difficult to reach areas.

Forty participants attended the opening of the training, including judges and prosecutors from Mogadishu, Puntland, Interim South West Administration, Interim Jubba Administration, Galmudug as well as emerging states for Hiran and Middle Shebele. The opening also welcomed high level senior officials from the Minister of Justice, Chief Justice, Attorney General, commissioner of custodial Cops and key representatives from UNSOM and UNDP.

Hon. Minister of Justice, Mr.Abdullahi Ahmed Jama said, “It is essential for justice chain actors to collaborate effectively and work side by side in order to have access to justice for all. This is especially true for gender based violence cases for women and children in remote areas since 70% of the Somali communities live in rural areas.”

Mobile Courts were originally recognized in the Somali legal system in the early 1970s and were revitalized in 2008 with the support of UNDP. Currently, outside the capital Mogadishu, justice institutions are only partially operational and the security situation is fundamentally unstable. Communities have little or no access to the formal justice system. Virtually no justice infrastructure exists including courthouses, and there is a significant gap in the capacity and availability of qualified personnel. There is a significant challenge to re-establish a functioning rule of law system in these areas and to reinforce the justice chain, including police, judiciary, lawyers, prosecutors and corrections.

However, emerging regional administrations are providing opportunities to start rebuilding the justice sector. Establishing permanent courts, training judges and judicial staff, developing a court case management system and a legal aid scheme needs time and resources and a long term commitments from government and international stakeholders. In the short-term, establishing Mobile Courts can deliver justice to the people and combine awareness raising programmes is an effective way of establishing the rule of law in areas affected by decades of statelessness and conflict.

The Chief Justice, Mr. Aideed Ilkahanaf supports this critical work. “We have to ensure access to justice for all Somali citizens. More focus should be given to those living in remote areas. I recommend Somali people to have ownership for the justice systems available in the country and to proactively collaborate with justice actors.”

The Mobile Courts scheme has been providing access to justice since 2012 in Somaliland and Puntland. UNDP supported the first four mobile courts in South-Central in 2012 during a 4 month pilot project with the Supreme Court. The pilot project covered 4 districts in Mogadishu (Wadajir, Hodan, Hamarjajab and Hawlwadag) not served by the court system at the time and with large IDP communities. At the end of the 4 month pilot project, the Mobile Courts dealt with 756 cases (340 criminal cases and 416 civil cases).

“The mobile court scheme is temporary solution, the permanent solution is to establish courts in every district and this needs to be supported for both the government and international community,” Attorney General Dr. Ahmed Ali Dahir said.

With support from the international community the Federal Government of Somalia’s Ministry of Justice is building a stronger, safer justice sector for the people of Somalia where access to qualified and competent law enforcement and justice is particularly challenging. Through the Joint Rule of Law Programme, work has recommenced to establish the Mobile Courts in Mogadishu and throughout South-Central Somalia. With the Leadership of the Supreme Court, all actors and stakeholders both at the federal government level in Mogadishu and at regional levels work hand-in-hand to start Mobile Court operations. This workshop marks the commencement of these important activities and will provide all actors with a common understanding and vision for the Mobile Courts and its legal framework, as well as agreement on priority areas and strategy.

The European Union Special Envoy and Ambassador to Somalia Michele Cervone d'Urso called upon judicial officers to lead by example and provide servant leadership. "Mobile courts provide a good platform for locals who cannot otherwise access justice to get such crucial services in their doorsteps which is likely to help communities heal from years of conflict and help foster peace and reconciliation," Amb. Cervone d'Urso said.

With generous support from the European Union and UK-DFID, UN partners are working to support and strengthen government and civil society institutions to deliver fair and rights-based justice services.

“Delivery of basic services in the justice chain – policing, judiciary, and corrections – is fundamental to establishing rule of law,” said, Mitch Dufresne, Chief Joint Justice and Corrections Section of the Rule of Law & Security Institutions Group (ROLSIG), UNSOM. “The UN is committed to supporting Somalia in establishing rule of law, together with state and peace building. Mobile courts and legal aid are essential to delivery of these services, extending out beyond Mogadishu to the sub national entities, particularly in the recovered areas.”

***********************

For more information, contact: Franco Sanchez, UNDP Governance and Rule of Law Programme Manager, franco.sanchez@undp.org or Damian Klauss, UNSOM Deputy Chief Joint Justice and Corrections Section, ROLSIG, klauss@un.org.

Somali Justice Institutions Using Results-Based Management

 Mr. Ahmed Ali Dahir, Attorney General of Somali Federal Republic attended the RBM training. Credit: UN Photo.

Mr. Ahmed Ali Dahir, Attorney General of Somali Federal Republic attended the RBM training. Credit: UN Photo.

Early July 2015, 44 participants from the Ministry of Justice, the Attorney General Office, the Supreme Court, Ministry of Justice of Interim South-West Administration (ISWA) and Mogadishu University participated in a two day training on Results-Based Management and Reporting organized by the Ministry of Justice of the Federal Government and UNDP Somalia in Mogadishu.

The training provided guidance, shared best practices on project management, and encouraged national counterparts to incorporate results-based management thinking and approach when implementing activities. A key part of the training was to provide a general overview on the principles and key components of Harmonized Approach to Cash Transfers (HACT).

Speaking at the opening of the training, Mr. Ahmed Ali Dahir, the Attorney General of Somali Federal Republic thanked the Ministry of Justice and UNDP for organizing the training which he said is very important for the Justice Institutions urging participants to take advantage of the opportunity and use the training as an opportunity to improve their skills and knowledge in relation to project planning and implementation with the aim of delivering justice services for the Somali people. Furthermore, the Attorney General emphasized the need for accountability and transparency in the use of donor funds stressing that mismanagement and corruption present a major threat to Somalia’s state building journey.

The training is expected to enhance the implementation capacity of the Somali Justice Institutions ahead of the operationalization of the Somalia Joint Rule of Law Prorgamme between the Federal Government of Somalia, the UN, and donors. This project is in support of Peacebuilding and State Building Goals 2 (Security) and 3 (Justice) of the New Deal Somali Compact. The Joint Programme is implemented thanks to the generous contribution of the European Union, DFID and Sweden.



With support from the EU, the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands, UNDP's, UNSOM's, UNICEF's, UNOD's and UNOPS' integrated Rule of Law Project (RoL) provides support to the justice and police in South Central: Mogadishu; Galmudug administration, Jubaland and South West Administration; In Puntland: Garowe, Bossaso and Gardo; and in Somaliland: All six regions (Hargeisa, Burao and Borama, Sanaag, Saahil Sool).

Model Police Station and Community Policing Centre opens in Gardo

 Gardo Police Commissioner, police staff and UNDP attending the opening. Credit: UN Photo.

Gardo Police Commissioner, police staff and UNDP attending the opening. Credit: UN Photo.

Yesterday marked the official opening of the model police station and community policing center in Gardo. Supported by UNDP’s Rule of Law project, the model police station was a reconstruction and add on from the previous station that was built in 1932. Both centers are running completely on solar energy.

In attendance were Vice President of Puntland Abdihakim Haji Abdullahi, UNDP Country Director George Conway, UNDP Head of Office Sayed Sahibzada, Police Commissioner Abdirizak, Mayor of Gardo Abdi Said, and Karkar Governor Abdi Quran. The opening of the ceremony included many community members, including Gardo’s community of Elders who appreciated the efforts made by UNDP.

Vice President Abdullahi thanked UNDP and recognized the collaborative efforts. “I am very happy and pleased with this new police station. UNDP has always been a partner with us and we hope this will continue over the years to come. A country cannot run without a proper functioning government and this is just another step for the Puntland State of Somalia to succeed,” he added.

Country Director George Conway was excited for his first trip to Gardo, and the progress being made with UNDP projects across Puntland. “I appreciate all the positive feedback of engagement and support in the community. I want to assure you we are committed to strengthen Gardo, as well as all across Puntland. We will continue to support the Government to ensure broader livelihoods support and environmental sustainability,” he said.

Fartun Ismail Mohamed is one of the two female legal aids in the center. “I am happy that I was trained and am able to do a job that will help my city. It is an exciting one and I hope more women will be open to this opportunity. We work well with the community members here, and I am excited about the work we will be doing to better the city of Gardo,” she said.

The Model Police Station in Gardo will be used to introduce key roles, functions, and procedures needed to create an accountable and transparent rights-oriented community based police service. The stations are designed to be easy to access for the community, and foster community engagement and specialist support for women, youth and vulnerable groups. In addition to the traditional police functions, the Model Police Stations are designed and adequately equipped to prioritise special attention to critical issues including Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).

UNDP recognises the importance of the establishment of a well trained and equipped police force fully engaged with local communities in the protection of civilians and promotion of local peace. Concurrent to the police initiatives, UNDP also supports initiatives aimed at empowerment of local communities to facilitate their effective engagement and support for local security enhancement and democratic policing.

For more photos of the event: Yesterday marked the official opening of the model police station and community policing center in Gardo. Supported by UNDP’s Rule of Law project, the model police station was a reconstruction and add on from the previous station that was built in 1932. Both centers are running completely on solar energy.

In attendance were Vice President of Puntland Abdihakim Haji Abdullahi, UNDP Country Director George Conway, UNDP Head of Office Sayed Sahibzada, Police Commissioner Abdirizak, Mayor of Gardo Abdi Said, and Karkar Governor Abdi Quran. The opening of the ceremony included many community members, including Gardo’s community of Elders who appreciated the efforts made by UNDP.

Vice President Abdullahi thanked UNDP and recognized the collaborative efforts. “I am very happy and pleased with this new police station. UNDP has always been a partner with us and we hope this will continue over the years to come. A country cannot run without a proper functioning government and this is just another step for the Puntland State of Somalia to succeed,” he added.

Country Director George Conway was excited for his first trip to Gardo, and the progress being made with UNDP projects across Puntland. “I appreciate all the positive feedback of engagement and support in the community. I want to assure you we are committed to strengthen Gardo, as well as all across Puntland. We will continue to support the Government to ensure broader livelihoods support and environmental sustainability,” he said.

Fartun Ismail Mohamed is one of the two female legal aids in the center. “I am happy that I was trained and am able to do a job that will help my city. It is an exciting one and I hope more women will be open to this opportunity. We work well with the community members here, and I am excited about the work we will be doing to better the city of Gardo,” she said.

The Model Police Station in Gardo will be used to introduce key roles, functions, and procedures needed to create an accountable and transparent rights-oriented community based police service. The stations are designed to be easy to access for the community, and foster community engagement and specialist support for women, youth and vulnerable groups. In addition to the traditional police functions, the Model Police Stations are designed and adequately equipped to prioritise special attention to critical issues including Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).

UNDP recognises the importance of the establishment of a well trained and equipped police force fully engaged with local communities in the protection of civilians and promotion of local peace. Concurrent to the police initiatives, UNDP also supports initiatives aimed at empowerment of local communities to facilitate their effective engagement and support for local security enhancement and democratic policing.


With support from the EU, the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands, UNDP's, UNSOM's, UNICEF's, UNOD's and UNOPS' integrated Rule of Law Project (RoL) provides support to the justice and police in South Central: Mogadishu; Galmudug administration, Jubaland and South West Administration; In Puntland: Garowe, Bossaso and Gardo; and in Somaliland: All six regions (Hargeisa, Burao and Borama, Sanaag, Saahil Sool).

Access to Justice for vulnerable Women

 A photo of Fatuma (name changed) from the meeting. Credit: UN Photo.

A photo of Fatuma (name changed) from the meeting. Credit: UN Photo.

In 2010, when she was just 21, Fatuma (name changed) was raped by seven men from her neighborhood in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland. When her family found her, she was rushed to the Hargeisa Group Hospital “Bahikoob Centre” which specializes in sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) cases.

The Bahikoob Centre helped Fatuma access support networks and legal aid to ensure that her attackers were prosecuted. “I didn’t want my case negotiated. Even my family wanted me to take a settlement and drop the case.  I didn’t want money. I wanted justice,” said Fatuma.

Established in 2008 with support from UNDP, the Bahikoob Centre helps survivors of sexual violence like Fatuma access medical, psychosocial and legal services. In Hargeisa alone, the Bahikoob Centre deals with about 25 cases per month.

Asha Roobleh, a social worker at the Bahikoob Centre, worked closely with Fatuma to get her case to court. “We’ve seen a huge increase in these kinds of cases over the last few years,” says Asha. “The officials didn’t know how to handle these kinds of cases. That’s when we stepped in to help.”

In addition to their work with victims and raising awareness in the community, they also train police to better protect victims of SGBV. Now there are Bahikoob facilities in Boroma and Burao Hospitals as well.

The Bahikoob Centre has seen a significant increase in the number of cases going to court in Somaliland, as well as survivors coming forward for treatment at the Hargeisa Group Hospital. From 2012 to 2014, the caseload nearly doubled – and in 2014 399 SGBV cases were reported. Out of these, 191 were prosecuted with 47 convictions.  

Fatuma’s case was transferred to the prosecutors and a judge assigned to the case. Her rapists were convicted and sentenced to jail terms. Despite her own personal trauma, Fatuma remains resilient. “What happened to me was so bad, and I want to make sure that other victims can access justice,” she said. Her story has gained publicity in the Somaliland media and helped raise awareness for gender-based and sexual violence. Fatuma has met other victims of SGBV and helps them gain the confidence to seek justice.


With funding from the EU, the UK and Norway, the Bahikoob Centres are part of an overall package of the UNDP’s Access to Justice Project, which is itself part of the joint UNDP/UNSOM/UNICEF/UNODC/UNOPS programme on Rule of Law, to ensure more Somalis have access to fair and affordable justice (with a focus on vulnerable groups such as women and internally displaced people). This includes long-term education and training for lawyers, judges and paralegals as well as support to civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations and service providers to effectively respond to and report crimes. By the end of 2014, 14,950 people (including 6,529 women) accessed UNDP-supported legal aid services to resolve disputes across Somalia.