Somali Criminal Law Codification Initiative
Somalia’s tragic past of warlord conflict has left the country teetering on lawlessness. Yet there are reasons for long-term optimism. Past difficulties have not been the product of inter-religious or ethnic conflict, as is the case in much of the world. Most Somalis follow the Shafi’i legal school within Sunni Islam and are predominately ethnic Somalis.
In an effort to promote the rule of law and unify the country, the Government of Somalia and the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) jointly commissioned the Criminal Law Research Group to draft a modern criminal code for Somalia that embodies fundamental Islamic principles. The proposed code developed by the Criminal Law Research Group in cooperation with the major Somali players of the criminal justice process is a modern and comprehensive penal code incorporating numerous cutting-edge innovations in drafting forms, code structure, and criminal law doctrine. It is also the first and only such code incorporating the major tenets and principles of Islamic law as currently practiced in Somalia. In drafting the code, the Criminal Law Research Group built upon its experience in drafting a Sharia-based criminal code for the Maldives that was commissioned by the United Nations Development Program and enacted last year.
The CLRG’s two-volume report to the Somali Working Group includes a proposed draft text, draft commentary, summary grading table, milestone grading table, as well as conversion tables from the current law sections to the draft code sections and vice versa.