The Puntland Attorney General’s Office (AGO) has this month finalised a key Prosecutors’ Manual, that provides templates and guidance on procedures and investigations needed to prosecute cases in Puntland.
The landmark manual was developed by legal expert Ahmed Mohamud Hassan and a team of Somali legal interns sponsored by the European Union Capacity Building Mission in Somalia (EUCAP Somalia), who are working in the AGO. Over 100 copies were printed by the EU civilian mission for use by prosecutors, and also for judges, police officers and law students.
Mr. Hassan, who is a lawyer and also serves as a Dean and lecturer at the faculty of Sharia and Law at Puntland State University, said the main objective of the manual was to facilitate understanding of the mandate and responsibilities of prosecutors and the Attorney General.
“It is a guiding tool to prosecutors that can provide directions in dealing with cases, and is also an operational manual for the Attorney General’s work,” he said.
Gary Collins, Legal Reform Advisor with EUCAP, said the guide was developed at the request of the Puntland Attorney General, and after an extensive assessment and consultative process across Puntland, to understand what information was needed.
“Together with the intern legal team in the AGO, we talked to numerous prosecutors and identified issues that had to be addressed in the manual. We also looked at the agendas of the training that Puntland prosecutors received for the last three years,” he said.
“The manual not only explains the modalities of prosecutor work but it also has templates of most important documents that prosecutors draft, such as charge sheets. We hope this will standardize and help to improve knowledge in this area,” Mr. Collins added.
The manual has been initially developed in English at the request of Puntland prosecutors and legal professionals, but is also being translated into Somali so that both versions will be available. It is thought that prosecutors in wider Somalia, including in Mogadishu, where the same legal framework may be used, would also be able to use the manual in their work.
EUCAP Somalia’s support to rule of law in Puntland is part of streamlined support to civilian law enforcement and maritime security in Somalia.