Tell us about your professional background and how it fits to Somali context?
I used to work as a prosecutor for some years in my native country, after which I have been working internationally in the rule of law field, involved mainly in prosecution-related activities, both operationally and in capacity-building functions. As with the work of the police, the function of prosecution and other functions related to the administration of justice are similar across the globe, even when the legal frameworks and other environmental factors may vary. So not to say if you have seen one you have seen them all, but as they are similar functions, good practices and lessons learned can be shared across contexts.
What is EUCAP Somalia’s Rule of Law work about?
On the one hand, our support is aimed at enhancing Somalia’s legal framework, for example by supporting our counterparts in acceding to international conventions in the maritime field and then incorporating the content of those treaties in domestic laws so they can be used by relevant authorities. This includes for example working closely in an advisory capacity with the Somali Maritime Administration (SMA) and line ministries, for example preparing commentary and revising documents related to legislative initiatives that fall within our mandate.
Legal reform must always be initiated and driven by Somalis themselves, but international players such as EUCAP can play a supporting role in driving the processes forward and providing expertise. These are long-term processes and require coordination and co-operation between actors, such as various entities within the UN family. EUCAP Somalia is supporting these developments by mentoring and advising our Somali partners.
While a functional legal framework is a key tool for authorities to execute their mandates, laws do not implement themselves. In any country, developing the capacity of actors in the maritime criminal justice chain (e.g. police and prosecutors) to execute their mandates correctly and effectively is paramount. Especially in a developing and fragile context such as Somalia, supporting the implementation of laws requires a lot of effort, most of which is practical in nature. Therefore, we facilitate coordinated planning processes and create platforms for interaction between criminal justice actors. To this end we also provide limited material support, such as videoconferencing equipment to facilitate interaction within the criminal justice chain.
Could you mention some of the latest developments in the Rule of Law sector
We are expecting that the newly established Judicial Training Institute will also contribute to the standardization of continued legal education for judges and prosecutors, which will contribute to enhancing expertise in the maritime sector of the criminal justice chain.
In the operation of the criminal justice chain, the police-prosecution/justice interface is a crucial and often overlooked aspect, where a “European” pragmatic but principled approach can add significant value. This can be done through supporting various mechanisms (e.g. police-prosecution collaboration platforms or task forces and criminal justice chain exercises) to enhance effective collaboration across the criminal justice chain and thereby the successful investigation and prosecution of maritime crime.
Moreover, crosscutting elements of all our work are the protection of human rights, gender equality and anti-corruption. The Mission has a duty in making sure that the initiatives we support are in line with applicable international standards.