The re-establishment of the Rule of Law in post-conflict countries is a key issue for the protection of human rights and the promotion of democracy. To this end, linking and strengthening the legal chain, from police investigations to the courts including administration by prosecutors, is extremely important for the Rule of Law to reach all segments of society.
This is why EUCAP Somalia organised the «Challenges for the Criminal Justice System»
Workshop in Garowe, capital of the Puntland State of Somalia that brought together professionals from the criminal justice chain.
The activity encouraged dialogue among participants by creating an opportunity for sharing concerns, ideas and suggestions aimed at improving the overall the justice system’s performance.
The twelve Somali participants, including six women from the police force and the judiciary, joined the three-days’ workshop from 7-9 May, gained a comprehensive overview of the challenges faced by the criminal justice system actors. The trainees, from the police Criminal Investigation Department (CID), the Attorney General Office, the Ministry of Justice and the Courts engaged in debates over lessons identified and ways forward.
The seminar focused on subjects including International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and its relationship with International Human Rights Law, International Refugee Law, International Migration Law, Law of Internal Displacement, and the importance of systematic data gathering and storage of information, witness protection and anticorruption in the context of Rule of Law.
Among the trainers, besides EUCAP Somalia’s Chain of Prosecution Adviser, Alexandru Ionut, who designed the workshop and the Head of Field office Garowe, Cornelis Verhaeren who introduced the audience to the witness protection subject matter, were UNSOM Human Rights Adviser, UNSOM Police Adviser and other Somali subject matter expert speakers.
EUCAP Somalia’s Head of Mission Maria-Cristina Stepanescu was present at the opening of the workshop, as she was visiting Puntland over the last days. “I am pleased to be able to attend such a meaningful training and I encourage the participants to respond to the invite from the Mission’s Chain of Prosecution Adviser and come up with topic proposals, as I expect us to continue delivering these kinds of activities”.
One of the participants from the Ministry of Justice called Abdiweli, stressed how important it was to him to learn about witness protection at EUCAP Somalia’s led seminar “at a time where there are high levels of crime rates in Puntland.” He encouraged our Mission to organise more of these kinds of trainings as he found it highly beneficial for his work.
A young female prosecutor, Ayaan, suggested debating the pros and cons regarding the formal versus informal justice and the need for a more comprehensive legal framework that could better set up the coordination between police and prosecutors for the next course.
“We have experienced vivid discussions amongst the participants who used the event as a forum to freely express their thoughts and ideas” said the Cornelis Verhaeren, following the closure of the workshop. His words were echoed by Alexandru Ionut, who added: “Seeing the thirst to learn from others and the commitment to become involved into the justice system reform that our local counterparts are showing, makes me proud of being part of EUCAP Somalia’s team and gives me strength to carry on with implementing the Mission’s mandate ”
As the participants unanimously asked EUCAP Somalia to come up with more of these kinds of events in the near future, it seems clear the workshop achieved the goal of bringing together all the actors of criminal justice chain.