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Conception of Transitional Justice in Somalia

Conception of Transitional Justice in Somalia

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This is a report of the field research on transitional Justice conducted in Mogadishu in 2012.
This is a report of the field research on transitional Justice conducted in Mogadishu in 2012.

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Published by: Dr. Abdurahman M. Abdullahi ( baadiyow) on Oct 14, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Conceptions of Transitional Justice in Somalia:
Findings of the Field Research in Mogadishu Abdurahman M. Abdullahi (baadiyow)
  Almost 90% of the atrocities and gross violations of the Human Rights werenot addressed yet in Somalia. Islamic Shari 'a is the preferred option for Transitional Justice while traditional customary law is considered to be thebest option in resolving community related violence.
Violence among Somali clans have been taking place long before the formation of Somali statein 1960, however, their traditional authorities administered conflict resolution mechanismsthrough customary law called
combined with
Islamic Shari’ a.
They were not familiarwith modern concepts of transitional justice (TJ), human rights (HRs), secular and Internationallaws. However, in the process of state-building, low intensity violation of HRs by the statesecurity apparatus occurred with impunity. The intensity of violations increased since early1980s amid the rise of the armed confrontation between armed factions and the Somali state.
The nature of violations and its perpetuators were beyond the prerogatives of the traditionalauthorities. Both sides of the conflict were committing gross violations of HRs and civilianpopulations were targeted because of their clan affiliation until the states collapsed in 1991.Moreover, after the collapse of the state, motives, nature and actors of the violations haddrastically changed. Clan-based armed militias were fighting each other from corner to cornerof the country causing havoc and committing gross violations of HRs. Furthermore, HRsviolations were not confined to the Somali non-state actors (warlords, Al-Itihad, Union of Islamic Courts and Al-Shabaab) but implicated other external actors (United Nation Operation
Holds PhD in the Modern Islamic History from McGill University.
Early armed factions were Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF), Somali National Movement (SNM), UnitedSomali Congress (USC) and Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM).
in Somalia (UNOSOM (1992-1995), Ethiopia, African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) andothers.
 Strangely enough, with all these violations of HRs taking palace in Somalia, TJ was notincorporated as part of the international plan in approaching Somali peace-building process.
 Many victims of the civil war still feel bitterness what they perceive as the indifference of theinternational community to the gross violations of the HRs committed by known individuals.Moreover, it seems as if the culture of impunity was encouraged through privilegingperpetrators of violence to the high political positions of the government eschewing theirhuman rights records.
Such defective approach and ubiquitous disinterest is very much evidentin the policies of UN agencies and even in the paucity of academic literature in the field of TJ.This paper which is part of a large research project on the conception of TJ in Somalia and
Ethiopia’s Somali Region
aims to fill the gap in the TJ literature.
The rationale behind thisresearch emanates from a deep conviction that understanding views of local population on theacceptable modalities of the TJ for solving their grievance are necessary precondition to avertplausible top-down or externally driven TJ mechanisms in the future. Thus, this paper is theculmination of a field research undertaken in the period from June 2012 to October 2012 inMogadishu. The focus of the research was to discover prevailing public opinion of TJ throughsample interviews and to find out most accepted mechanisms from the menu of available TJapproaches ranging from local customary law, Shari 'a, national and international laws. Inaddition, the paper provides brief background of HRs violations in the south-central Somalia
UNOSOM was led by the United States and was accepted by the UN and made possible through United NationsSecurity Resolution Council 794. On the evening of 4 December 1992, USA forces landed in Mogadishu. AMISONis regional peacekeeping mission operated by the African Union with the approval of the UN in Somalia in 2007.Other countries include Eritrea and some European fishing companies and those companies who dumped nuclearwaste within Somali territorial marine border.
For instance, the mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia does include TJ component. See MargheritaZuin,
"A Model for Transitional Justice for Somalia." 
PRAXIS, The Fletcher Journal of Human Security,
2 0 0 8.
Somali warlords participated in all political processes and HRs violation was examined as a criteria for participation and manyof these warlords still remain as members in the Somali parliament.
Transitional justice in protracted conflict: local and Diaspora conceptions of retributive and restorative justice between
, customary and human rights law in Somalia and E
thiopia’s Somali Region. Project proposal submitted to the Deutsche
Stiftung Friedensforschung, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, 2010, 6
since 1991. Moreover, it examines prevailing perceptions widespread in the civil war state of affairs such as trauma and copping. Finally, analysis will be conducted on the answers of theinterviewees in order to discover the main conceptions of Somalis about TJ mechanisms andimplications.

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