Courts & Judgments
There is no national
judicial system in Somalia.
The Transitional Charter,
adopted in 2000, provides for an independent judiciary and for a High
Commission of Justice, a Supreme Court, a Court of Appeal, and courts
of first reference; however, the Charter had not been implemented by
year's end. Some regions have established local courts that depend on
the predominant local clan and associated factions for their authority.
The judiciary in most regions relies on some combination of
traditional and customary law, Shari'a law, the Penal Code of the
pre-1991 Siad Barre Government, or some combination of the three. For
example, in Bosasso and Afmadow, criminals are turned over to the
families of their victims, which then exact blood compensation in
keeping with local tradition. Under the system of customary justice,
clans often hold entire opposing clans or sub-clans responsible for
alleged violations by individuals.
Islamic Shari'a courts,
which traditionally ruled in cases of civil and family law but
extended their jurisdiction to criminal proceedings in some regions
beginning in 1994, ceased to function effectively in the country
during the year. The Islamic courts in Mogadishu gradually were
absorbed during the year by the TNG, and the courts in Merka and
Beledweyne ceased to function. In Berbera courts apply a combination
of Shari'a law and the former Penal Code. In south Mogadishu, a
segment of north Mogadishu, the Lower Shabelle, and parts of the Gedo
and Hiran regions, court decisions are based on a combination of
Shari'a and customary law. Throughout most of the country, customary
law forms a basis for court decisions.
Source: U.S. Department of