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Somaliland’s Scandalous Justice Systems

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"We Will Be Treating Somaliland As A Self Governing Region," Swedish
Ambassador, Jen Olander

Human Rights Umbrella Concerned about Government's Human Rights Violations

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Mission Report on the Trial Observation of Detained Human Rights Defenders
in Somaliland

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Remarks by Vice President Cheney to the Republican Jewish Coalition Leadership

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A Reply to Cabdale Faarah Sigad's Report on the detained Haatuf Journalists

Petition For Impeachment Of Dahir Rayale Kahin


The sentencing of 18 butchers (10 of whom are women) to 6 months in prison for demonstrating against the city’s doubling of Hargeysa abattoir fees is just one more example that shows the intolerable condition of Somaliland’s justice system. By taking one draconian action after another, it is as if the government wants to convince the people that there is no such thing as justice in Somaliland. Strong words, you might say, but not really, when you consider that the sentences were handed by the Hargeysa Region’s Security Committee, a body that both Somaliland’s current and previous parliaments have said is an illegal entity. But what makes the absurdity of the situation stark clear is that Mayor Hussein Mohammed Jir’ir whom the protestors were demonstrating against, actually serves on this committee. So, we have a situation where the mayor in his capacity as a member of the security committee, acted as a judge, and sent to jail people that he had conflict with in his work as a mayor. Moreover, neither the mayor nor the rest of Hargeysa’s security committee are lawyers by training. Most of them actually have military or police background as can be seen from this list of the Security Committee members: 1. Ali Hasan Mahamed "Ali Asad" (Governor of Hargeysa). 2. Hussen Mahamud Jir’ir (Mayor of Hargeysa). 3. Adan Guun (the Commander of the police section). 4. The Commander of the military’s 31'st sector. 5. Ise Muuse (Commander of the central prison). 6. Adan Aw Ali (Commissioner of the CID). In effect, the Security Committee is making important decisions in matters for which it has no qualifications. Not only that, but some of the members of this committee, especially its chairman, Ali Asad, have a well-established reputation for corruption.

With a situation like this, one would think that the judiciary would be the first to object to the existence of the security committees. But until now, not a word of disapproval has come down from the judicial establishment. Hargeysa regional court judge Faysal Abdillahi Ismail did recently clash with one of the members of this committee (Saleebaan Muuse), which resulted in the latter’s dismissal from his position as head of the CID, but as much as we applaud the judge’s stand against the illegal practices of the former intelligence chief, this is an exception to the general tenor of Judge Faysal’s record which has been mostly on the side of injustice. Furthermore, the dispute between the CID and Judge Faysal Abdillahi Ismail was not about the legality of the security committee but about a different issue.

The judiciary’s accommodating stance toward the security committees who have usurped their prerogatives might seem baffling to some. But on closer examination, it is not that difficult to explain. Somaliland’s judges, especially the ones at the top, such as the Supreme Court, do not see their job as safeguarding the rule of law and dispensing justice, but rather, as serving those in power. If one follows this logic, then as far as they are concerned, it does not matter whether it is they (the judges) who hand down the sentences or some illiterate soldier or corrupt governor in the security committee. The sentence would be the same regardless who hands it down, because it was ordered by the same powers that be. In order to object to this scandalous system, judges would have to have principles, or at least some professional pride. Unfortunately, Somaliland’s highest judges have neither, and we end up with security committees.

Source: Somaliland Times

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